There are portions of the Bible known as “wisdom literature.” Most of the wisdom literature is found in the Hebrew Scriptures: most prominently in Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. But we also see it again in passages of the New Testament where the wisdom literature is picked up and reflected in the teachings of Jesus and other writings.
What we’re talking about here is the Biblical wisdom that has survived the ages and has spoken and continues to speak to people in every age and time and place. In this series, Timeless Wisdom, we’ll explore this wisdom and draw from it the essence that will apply to our lives today.
We open this series with “Count Your Days,” which is a reminder to us that our lives are limited in time. When Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart . . .,” it’s telling us that what we do with our lives — in the limited time we have — matters a great deal.
And then, in Luke 12:16-21, the wisdom turns toward the concept of what we do with what we have — our generosity and how we live in such a way that makes the world a better place. In the parable of the rich man who hoards his bountiful harvest and isn’t “rich toward God,” we learn that living in a way that is life-giving forms our legacy and makes our own individual mark on the world in the short time we’re here.
As we journey through this life, knowing that our time is limited, the wisdom literature of the Bible tells us to remain mindful of living in the present — and to concern ourselves always with making sure that what we do with this limited span of life we have in some way makes the world a better place — even if it’s just our little corner in it.
What is your legacy? What will you leave behind? What do you do, day to day, that is life-giving to others? How will your mark on the world make something in it better?
I look forward to exploring this timeless piece of wisdom with you this Sunday in the Sanctuary.
Grace and Peace,
Psalm 90:1-4, 12
Lord, you have been our help, generation after generation. Before the mountains were born, before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world—from forever in the past to forever in the future, you are God. You return people to dust, saying, “Go back, humans,” because in your perspective a thousand years are like yesterday past, like a short period during the night watch.
Teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart.
Then he told them a parable: “A certain rich man’s land produced a bountiful crop. He said to himself, What will I do? I have no place to store my harvest! Then he thought, Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. That’s where I’ll store all my grain and goods. I’ll say to myself, You have stored up plenty of goods, enough for several years. Take it easy! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. But God said to him, ‘Fool, tonight you will die. Now who will get the things you have prepared for yourself?’ This is the way it will be for those who hoard things for themselves and aren’t rich toward God.”