As I take in news of things going on in the world, I often find myself remembering my grandfather. Grandpa would watch the evening news each night as he ate his dinner, providing a running commentary to anyone who was present. His analysis almost always included him sighing and shaking his head with exasperation, “Crazy, crazy, crazy,” and the conclusion that “nobody has any common sense.” I think we’ve all come to that conclusion at times, maybe as we watched the news or tried to solve an especially frustrating problem. As many have lamented over the years, common sense is not so common, but why is that the case?
I believe that what we call common sense has a lot in common with what the Bible, especially the book of Proverbs, calls wisdom, or at the very least, it is wisdom for which we are often longing when we decry the scarcity of common sense. Here’s how pastor and author Ray Ortlund describes wisdom in his commentary on Proverbs:
“Wisdom is more than brains. It is more than morals. We could memorize the whole Bible, and mean it from the heart, without wisdom. Wisdom is skill, expertise, competence that understands how life really works, how to achieve successful, and even beautiful results”Ray Ortlund
That kind of wisdom is what unfolds before us as we read Proverbs with a mind and heart set on receiving instruction instead of despising it. Proverbs 1:5 says, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” Listening with an open heart and open mind is surely not a posture that is all that common, and that very well may explain why wisdom isn’t either. May we increase in wisdom as we receive the words of this book over the next few days.