- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:3
"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches"
Notice the thought connection between this proverb and the one before it. We are not to envy the gain of those with no scruples but to instead fill our lives with the precious and pleasant riches of wisdom. The evil use people and gain through violence; the wise fill their life with precious and pleasant riches – ones not available to those who pursue violence and immorality.
by wisdom a house is built
This is the theme of the whole book of Proverbs. The home is a metaphor for life. Building an adequate, wealthy, and enjoyable home is a symbol for building a wonderful life filled with great relationships, adequate treasure, and personal achievement. This two-verse couplet could be translated: By wisdom a life is built and by understanding it is established; and by information and skill, good and positive activities and relationships are added. So the question that this Proverb is asking is how do you build a life that is worth living? Also, realize that most houses were the site of the family business so this could also be the recipe for a successful business.
Wisdom is the ability to deny yourself the present pleasure to pursue the course that causes God and others to be winners. When I make sure that my family is a winner over my own purely selfish desires, then I am really setting up my life for some great success. When I am more focused on the customer winning than I am in turning a short-term profit, then I am building a really great company.
I must be focused on others winning as much, if not more, than my winning. In fact, I must choose the direction in which everyone wins and not just one group or the other. Wisdom is the Triple-Win.
The idea is that one cannot build a lasting future on selfishness, impulsiveness, and rebellion. Too many people in our day and age are trying to do this even though, from outward immediate appearances, they do not seem to be violating this principle. But they have locked themselves in credit card debt through compulsive (impulsive) spending. This desire to look good or have what they want now or not say the hard thing to a family member destroys the future that they are hoping to build. There is no lasting future built on foolishness (pride, deception, glitz, greed, impulsiveness).
and by understanding it is established
We need to constantly notice the relationships between things. There is a relationship between certain problems and their causes or contributing factors. Many of us do not want to admit that these connections exist. We don't want to admit that there is a connection to our growing weight and the ice cream, cookies, and fries that we enjoy eating; but there is a connection. We do not want to see that there is a connection between the amount of TV we watch and the level of boredom and lack of success we enjoy. We don't want to notice the connection between our temptations and certain items in our lives. If we are ever going to have a growing, stable life, we must always be aware of the relationship between things in our life. What will happen if I let this in my life? What will happen if I eliminate this from my life?
and by knowledge the rooms are filled
The word knowledge means both information and skills. One doesn't enjoy fullness in one's life unless there are developed skills that people will pay to receive or information that others do not have. This is the old adage: What do you do well? What do you have the potential of doing better than any other person near you? Do that and you will be better off than if you try and do a lot of things in a mediocre fashion. If you do not keep growing in your skill set or in your knowledge, the life you are leading will not be filled with the good things you would like.
In our day and age people keep looking for a job in which they do not have to keep growing or developing. Life does not work this way. All of life needs to be about growing and developing. More skills and more information – this is what actually brings in the wealth that allows the rooms to be filled.
Which one of these do you need to work on in your life?
Wisdom: Self-Denial and the Triple-Win
Understanding: Relationship between things
Knowledge: Information and skills
Learn to grow in each one
with all precious and pleasant riches
What are the precious and pleasant riches that wisdom and knowledge bring? While these certainly would include wealth, the primary focus of wisdom in the Scripture is strong relationships. It does not matter if your house is filled with every kind of possession imaginable if there are no relationships in your life of depth and meaning – a house filled with people you care about and who care about you.
The older I get the more I realize that it is the relationships of life that give life its joy and meaning. Having an enjoyable relationship with my wife, deeply enjoying being with my kids and having them want to be with me, and enjoying friendships and mentoring relationships are what really give life its meaning and purpose. And most importantly of all, being close to God and having a back-and-forth relationship in which He is the delight of my soul and I please Him by my actions of faith.
Doesn't it change the focus of life when you realize that the goal of life is deep, joyful relationships – not money, fame, power, and glamour?