For the last 50 years, I have been intrigued by the concept of “wisdom.” As a young boy I remember reading these words of Solomon about wisdom, “She is more precious than jewels and nothing you desire compares with her.” (Proverbs 3:15) The fact that nothing in this life compares with wisdom grabbed my attention. I have been on a lifelong search to understand and to acquire it. My children will tell you that one of the great desires I have for them is that they become people of great wisdom.
Too many wander aimlessly through life, following only the noise
Several years ago, I read an enlightening excerpt from the great Roman philosopher and statesman, Seneca. He was born in 4 B.C., and wrote about wisdom in one of his famous essays, “On the Happy Life.” He noted that too many people wander aimlessly through life, never looking for guidance. They follow only the noise and contradictions of those who seek to have us follow them. Seneca concludes that this is what leads us into a plethora of problems and mistakes. And since this life is so brief, we should strive day and night for sound wisdom.
Seneca then added,
“Nothing, therefore, needs to be more emphasized than the warning that we should not, like sheep, follow the lead of the throng in front of us, traveling, thus, the way that all go and not the way we ought to go.”
Wisdom begins with a true interpretation of the world and how we should live in it. To lack wisdom is to be without direction and to be lost in a world that does not make sense. Scholar Neal Plantinga reveals that the correct order of life is wisdom. He then gives a great definition, stating that wisdom is
“finding out the truth about what life is, what makes the world work and how we ought to fit into it.”
This explains why wisdom is of such abundant value. It not only gives coherence to life but also provides a path leading to our ultimate well-being and happiness. We should all stop and ask, “What is that worth to me?”
A collection of short essays on wisdom
The new book is a collection of short essays on wisdom. They come from all my reading, research, teaching and writing over the past 40 years. I take 12 of the most strategic issues in life, and provide four or five short essays (they can be read in five to seven minutes) on each issue listed below:
- The Nature of Wisdom
- Personal Growth and Development
- Wisdom and True Freedom
- Wisdom in the Search for Meaning
- Business and Career Wisdom
- Financial Wisdom
- Relational Wisdom
- Human Sexuality
- Care of the Soul
- Wisdom and a Healthy Life
- The Storms of Life
- Facing Our Mortality
The book closes with a chapter on what I consider to be five of the most important principles governing life. Finally, there is an appendix thoughtfully titled, Nuggets of Wisdom, which are more than 50 short quotes concerning wisdom.
My hope is that the book serves as a guide to help people walk in wisdom on their journey towards a healthy and meaningful life.