Devotions this morning came from Charlie Ingram of Bessels Green Baptist Church 

Is it just me, or has the world gone mad?

In the last few months, whether it is watching what is going on in the UK with Brexit in particular, or in the US with Donald Trump it seems the world has become more crazy. Over the summer he started getting anxious about it and made a conscious decision to stop watching the news as he was finding himself struggling to sleep after seeing what was going on.

It made him question what is missing in our world, and came to the conclusion that it is due, in a large part, to needing wisdom in our lives. But where do we go for wisdom?

If we look to the Bible there are 3 books in the Old Testament- Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job, that point to the ancient wisdom tradition. Proverbs gives messages such as if you work hard your life will go well, if you’re lazy it won’t, but to take that book in isolation is not helpful. What about if you work hard, and things don’t work out as you hope for. This is where the other two books come in to play.

Charlie gave a short quiz with the following questions. He’d asked it at his church the day before, and people were allowed to use their phones to get the answer.

  • What is the mass of the moon?
  • What is Planck’s constant?
  • What is Xeroderma Pigmentosium more commonly known as?

The point being that we are not short of information- with Google we have a wealth of it at our fingertips. Wisdom though, is more than information. You can be extremely intelligent, but have no common sense!

Furthermore, wisdom is more about having moral rules in your life. Years ago, in a previous church in South East London he knew a number of heroin addicts that he met with regularly. Frequently out of food he bought them weekly shopping. This helped them, after all it says in the Bible to ‘feed the poor’, but the downside of doing this, was that it then meant they were able to spend more on the heroin. In hindsight, where was the wisdom?

Proverbs 8: 10-11 says-

Choose my instruction instead of silver,
    knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her

How many times do we hear of incredibly bright, successful, wealthy or famous people who seem to have it all, only to throw it away because of one stupid tweet, or foolish act? Everyone needs to seek wisdom.

Wisdom is a path- it is something we learn one footstep at a time. We may want it instantly, but it is something we develop over time and learn with age.

Charlie went to a meeting recently hosted by The Elders. The organisation of independent global leaders was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007 and they promote working together for peace and human rights. They discuss wisdom in our culture. We need these type of people- society needs Elders. Some people just grow old, whereas others have a teachable heart and are willing to learn.

Nothing makes us learn more than our failures and mistakes. Nobody says ‘I really grew as a person’ when they bought their expensive cars, but time after time he hears of people say they grew through times of hardship and difficulties.

So, has the world gone mad? Quite possibly, but try not to get too swept up in the anxiety of it all. Seek the wisdom tradition in the Bible- seek the depth of the base notes, the stuff that grounds us.

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

You can hear this devotion in more detail on the BGBC website