Before All Things
Tuesday, January 7 2020
It’s a new year – and always, when a new year begins, we renew our best intentions and our greatest efforts. We evaluate the year that has passed, what was achieved and what was not achieved, and the “whys”. And we project forward to the new year that has arrived: what we long for, what we want to strive for, and the “hows”. Isn’t that right?
What do you want for this year 2020? What are you going to work towards? What would you like to obtain? What goals do you want to reach? Will you strive for a person: a life-partner, children, friends – or for more things: more money, a better house, a better car, a better job, more studies, better holidays – or for more intangible things: physical well-being and beauty, fame, power, love?
There are so many things in this world that scream for our attention, that cry out and clamor to be noticed and valued. There are many proposals that this world extends to us, demanding that we pay homage to them: money, power, recognition, physical appearance, sex, among other things.
But in the end, as the “Preacher”, the son of David, King Solomon said: “… Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? Generations come and generations go … The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-9)
Dear friend: may I suggest to you a much better way than all these meaningless and wearisome ways? It’s a way that does not mislead and deceive, as do the others that promise so much and in the end offer nothing. It’s not a way that demands everything, and afterwards only leads to an empty and defeated life.
May I suggest that you strive to gain something much more transcendent? It’s something that will truly give you the abundant life, the joy and the peace that you seek in your innermost being.
“The primary thing (before all things) is wisdom:
and with all your acquiring, get understanding.
Prize her, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
She will place on your head a garland of grace;
she will present you with a crown of beauty.”
Dear friend: BEFORE ALL THINGS (translated from a Spanish version of this verse) is WISDOM. Acquire wisdom and embrace understanding, because only they will honor you and exalt you. Do you want to live with grace upon your head? Do you want to wear a crown of beauty? Then, before all things, seek and find wisdom - and strive for understanding.
This wisdom is a knowledge of what is good and what is bad in life. This wisdom is an intelligence to understand the important and transcendent things. This wisdom is a discernment to be able to distinguish and choose between what is valuable and what is empty. This wisdom is a prudence and good judgment in speaking, and a discretion in acting in ways that are correct and pleasant.
Proverbs 2 says that this wisdom is a shield of protection for those who walk in integrity. This wisdom guards and preserves the paths and the ways of the righteous. This wisdom delivers the upright from evil, perverse, crooked, devious and unfaithful men and women. This wisdom is the only thing that will lead us to abundant and eternal life.
Most importantly, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” states Proverbs 9:10.
In addition, this wisdom comes only from God. From His mouth alone come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)
Dear friend: do you want the primary thing in your life this year to be to acquire this wisdom? Do you want to seek and find wisdom for your life before all things?
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting …” (James 1:5,6a)
It’s really quite simple: in the sincerity of your heart, truly believing that the wisdom that God gives is the answer to all your needs and all your desires for this new year and for your whole life, ask Him to give it to you. And He, who gives to all including you, generously and without objection, will give it to you. Having this wisdom then, you will live honored and exalted and crowned with beauty in this new year.
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