Before Dad moved our family to West Virginia, we lived in Salisbury, North Carolina, at 525 East Henderson Street. When I was eight years-old, Dad bought a bicycle for me. It was my first. It was rusty. But, it was sturdy.
Henderson Street was a busy street. The best street for me to ride on was the street behind our house. It was Lafayette street. The easiest way of getting on the street meant riding through out large backyard beneath the huge pecan tree, and down a narrow three-foot garden path beside of which was right up against Mr. Webb’s dilapidated barn. A sharp left turn at the corner would put me onto Mr. Webb’s long driveway. At the end was the much quieter Lafayette Street. Many school friends lived in that proximity.
My third ride was not without incident. As I went along Mr. Webb’s driveway at his house, a stick got kicked up and lodged in the chain at the rear wheel sprocket. It also wedged among several of the spokes.
I put the kickstand down and attempted to wrest the stick from the bind. What made the extraction difficult was that I could not keep the bike balanced long enough before it would fall. And, I was getting more frustrated with each fall.
Mr. Webb came out the back door of his house and ambled over towards me. He was a tall, gaunt man who always wore a well-used, wide-brimmed, derby-style hat. With his slow Southern drawl, he said, “Ronnie, always put the challenge of wisdom in your work.”
I probably looked like I had no clue what he meant. “Let me show you,” he said. With that, he took my bike and turned it over so that it rested more stably on the seat and handlebars. I got the idea. In short order, I was peddling to the ball park to meet up with the kids.
I have remembered what Mr. Webb said. The thing to note here is that the exhortation to “Put your wisdom to work” is comparative to what the Psalmist asked God, “Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” To acknowledge the challenge of this request, the Lord is asked to put our lives in proper perspective so that we may live our lives according to the stability found in Scripture and with Godly wisdom. Because of the brevity of life, the application of Scripture and Godly wisdom become most prudent for a stable life.
A starting point for applying our lives with wisdom is to keep in mind how much God has done for us. His providence is outstanding. When His will is respected, each of us have food on the table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs. Such realization leads us to reciprocate relationship and fellowship with God. That amounts to putting wisdom into our work of righteous living.
Furthermore, keeping in mind how much God has done for us influences us to be more distributive-minded rather than being constantly selfish-minded. Living wisely means helping out others in timely fashion with the means of what we have.
The proper perspective to have is found in the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. For the Lord instructed, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, whether neither moth or rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” That amounts to putting wisdom into administering our resources properly.
In either situation, and others, there is a challenge of putting wisdom in the things we do and attitudes we have. But, when God’s honor and glory is considered, life takes on greater qualities.
Getting back to Mr. Webb, he also had a local reputation of being a very straightforward individual. After I fumbled around considerably to turn my bike back over, he told me, “Ronnie, you just don’t have much smarts about you, do you?”
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.