[Wisdom] is a tree of life to those who take hold of her. Proverbs 3:18
When gold seeker Edward Jackson set out for California during the Great Gold Rush in the US, his diary entry on May 20, 1849, lamented his grueling wagon journey, marked by disease and death. “O do not leave my bones here,” he wrote. “If possible let them lay at home.” Another gold-seeker named John Walker penned, “It is the most complete lottery that you can imagine . . . . I cannot advise any person to come.”
Walker, in fact, returned home and succeeded at farming, ranching, and state politics. When a family member took Walker’s yellowing letters to the American TV program Antiques Roadshow, they were valued at several thousand dollars. Said the TV host, “So he did get something valuable out of the Gold Rush. The letters.”
Even more, both Walker and Jackson returned home after gaining wisdom that caused them to take hold of a more practical life. Consider these words about wisdom from King Solomon, “Blessed are those who find wisdom . . . . She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her” (Proverbs 3:13, 18). A wise choice is “more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold” (v. 14)—making wisdom more precious than any earthly desire (v. 15).
“Long life is in her right hand . . . and all her paths are peace” (vv. 16–17). Our challenge, therefore, is to hold tight to wisdom, not shiny wishes. It’s a path God will bless.
What shiny wishes have you been chasing in life? Where could the path of wisdom take you instead?
Heavenly Father, when I’m blinded by the lure of shiny wishes, inspire me to take hold of wiser choices, walking the path of wisdom back to Your blessed peace.
Many of us believe that more material possessions—or at the very least, fewer financial burdens—will bring us happiness. Solomon, who compiled most of the book of Proverbs, understood that such happiness is fleeting. What good is great wealth if we squander it? How much better to have wisdom! By wisdom we can learn how to better manage what we have, how to navigate the relational conflicts we face, and what the true source of fulfillment is.
But what’s wisdom and where do we find it? Our search takes us to the Source of all wisdom. The first chapter of Proverbs tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7). Solomon echoes this later in the book when he tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (9:10).