Reflections: A Wisdom Feast for Thanksgiving

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As I began a presentation to the West Central Georgia Shutterbugs, I said, “The information I’m sharing with you tonight has come from two excellent photographers.” I then held up the books, one at a time, and spoke briefly about the authors, who are accomplished writers as well as photographers. “I’ve relied heavily on their knowledge, for, like you, I’m still learning about photography.”
With that said, I started the PowerPoint presentation I had prepared for the group. Everything went well, and afterwards several members thanked me for what they felt had been an excellent presentation.
That would not have been the case if I hadn�t been able to present suggestions from the pros rather than from own limited knowledge and skills database. Thankfully, the two authors had taken time to write down many of the things they�d learned throughout the years. And, as a result, we, too, are wiser than we were before the meeting started.
The following morning as I was reading in The Message, which is the Bible in contemporary language, these verses really spoke to me�based on what had happened the evening before:
�Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here�s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It�s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn�t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn�t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn�t wisdom. It�s the furthest thing from wisdom�it�s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you�re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others� throats.
�Real wisdom, God�s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor� (James 3:13-18).
Previously, the same Biblical writer had said this about wisdom: �If you don�t know what you�re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You�ll get his help, and won�t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who �worry their prayers� are like wind-whipped waves. Don�t think you�re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open� (James 1:5-8).

Thankfully, many writers, including James, share what they�ve learned so that we, too, can become more knowledgeable and, as a result, live more wisely. Isn�t that the purpose of all learning, after all, whether it relates to spiritual matters or to photography or to finances or to whatever?
We need wisdom�all kinds of wisdom�and whenever we recognize that and seek out a source for the knowledge we need, what a blessing it is to find a virtual Thanksgiving-like �feast� of knowledge and to dig right in.
�2007 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill, www.jgaskill.com. Scriptures quoted are from The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson.
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