There’s a lot of shouting in the streets; plenty of noise. Noise isn’t the same as wisdom.
Wisdom is often a whisper, requiring we listen like Elijah. Loud voices disguise wisdom as popular opinion, culture of the day, approval and/or comfort and convenience.
None of that is necessarily Godly wisdom, and it is not, what we call “common sense”.
Godly wisdom is so uncommon, it’s like a personality of God. In Proverbs, Wisdom describes herself,
“The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.”
Wisdom is ancient; established by God since the beginning. It is both temporal and eternal. Essentially a relationship with God, wisdom is a source of joy.
God’s Wisdom is often the opposite of culture, comfort, common sense and popular opinion. Consider God’s purpose to redeem creation by becoming a helpless baby who will live and die to renew our humanity.
Think about what started in Mary’s womb. Then, compare our infrastructure obsession.
Mary’s experience of “wisdom” in God’s purposes is not a neat example of “fit for purpose”.
Most congregations are rich in physical resources: property and buildings. Are they, fit for purpose? Are we?
We’ve focused on maximising hall rentals to local clubs, better audio-visuals for streaming, air-conditioning the (building we call) “the church”. God gave away the accommodations of heaven to be born of a nobody girl in the dirt of the stable.
What’s God’s purpose?
That Jesus will be revealed, and “be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Is this wise, and is Mary fit for God’s purpose?
Wisdom in Mary’s culture said she could be stoned. Common sense says virgins can’t get pregnant. Popular opinion was that God had left them to work life out for themselves. Power belonged to clever, influential people.
Mary trusted the wisdom of God, in a stable/shed/cave in no way “fit for purpose”.
Paul shrugs his shoulders at any attempt to apply human wisdom to this: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”
We are not called to be crafty, comfortable or culturally relevant. Our purpose is not profitability or popularity. We are asked to be wise. We would be wise to refit all we have for God’s purpose; which is to reveal Jesus, the son of God and His kingdom.
Phil Smith is the Community Pastor at BELLS Faith Community on the Sunshine Coast.