"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold." (Proverbs 3:13-14)
The Christmas season is fast upon us. Amongst the traffic, both in the streets and online, there is much merchandise being purchased. Stores are full to capacity, so much so that monitors are still placed at the entrance to ensure social distancing rules are practiced. Shopping carts are full and retailers have even reported a shortage of Christmas trees and holiday decorations. At home, the space between our floors and lowest branches of the Christmas tree are being stacked with presents.
I have always enjoyed the excitement of Christmas gifts, but over the many years of Christmas giving and receiving, I have learned three simple truths concerning gifts:
- The majority of gifts immediately decline in value. Whether it's a toy, clothing, a gadget, or a gizmo, the truth is that the merchandise we purchased rarely retains its full redemptive cost (much like the stuff I bought from infomercials).
- The unpleasant sting of my foolish purchases remains in my memory. The reminder could be in the form of debt or buyer's remorse (like that Kirby vacuum cleaner).
- The benefits of most gifts are short lived. The gift might break; interest in the gift may wane; or a new version comes out two months later, making the joy of most of the merchandise given or received short-lived.
Although the merchandise of gold and silver is good, this passage in Proverbs 3 expresses to us the value of the merchandise possessed from wisdom and understanding. It emphatically states that it is better. As we read on, we discover the natural byproducts from wisdom are favour and good understanding (vs. 4); health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones (vs. 8); length of days and riches and honour (vs. 16); ways of pleasantness and her paths are peace (vs. 17); and a tree of life (vs. 18).
These central truths resulting from wisdom are superior to the realities of my gifts. Wisdom is better because after redemption, its value increases. I also find the reminders are better. In this chapter, wisdom reminds me to forget not, despise not, withhold not, and to envy not. Lastly, we find the return is better. The merchandise of wisdom is not only a sound purchase, but it also leads to a future inheritance. Verse 35 closes the chapter by saying, "The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools."
So, over the next few days as we finish up our final purchases before Christmas Day, take some time to think about the merchandise of wisdom. The redemption is better; the reminders are better; and the return is better.
Written by Dale Money