It was an honor to speak at the PORTA High School Baccalaureate service this past Sunday night. Of course, having a son in this graduating class of 2018 is no small factor in my feelings for these young men and women, but to say that I’m proud of them and excited for what their futures hold is an understatement.
I want to take a few lines here to restate a few highlights from that message, and whether you’re graduating this Friday night or celebrating your 60th class reunion, perhaps you’ll be encouraged and challenged, as well.
The message taken from Proverbs 3:1-6 was entitled, “Walking in the Way of Wisdom.” This section of Scripture reads like a letter from a father to his son, perhaps as he’s growing into greater responsibilities of manhood, or maybe graduating from one phase of his life into the next.
It’s his plea for his son to live life according to godly, biblical wisdom – in the midst of a foolish world which often thinks we can get along just fine without God, writing our own rules and doing whatever seems right at the time in our own eyes. Godly wisdom throughout Proverbs is well described as “skill in the art of right living.”
This wisdom finds practical application in every area of everyday life. Raising your children right. Being a better spouse. Honoring your parents. Making good decisions, developing a strong work ethic, and using your time productively. Avoiding the traps of sexual immorality, violent and greedy company, and laziness. Learning self-control, humility, integrity. Caring for the poor, seeking justice, and striving for peace.
And when you take these truths to heart and live them out, you’ll be making an impact for good in your homes, your schools, your workplaces, your communities, and your world. A life lived walking in the way of wisdom is a happy life, a useful life, a purposeful life, and a satisfying life. And it’s available to all who will pursue it.
Of course, we need to understand the key to accessing such wisdom, which Proverbs 1:7 lays out plainly: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” So the first step is having a healthy and holy fear of the Lord, which means developing a sense of awe and reverence as we rightly recognize His holiness, His majesty, His power, and His glory.
The Bible says, too, that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are found in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:3), and when you discover your treasure in Him, you’ve found the greatest joy known to man. The theme of Scripture reveals to us that Jesus is the Son of God who came into this world to save sinners – rescuing us from sin, death, and hell, and bringing us everlasting life in His Kingdom.
What could bring greater joy than knowing that in Christ our sins are forgiven and we’re made righteous in Him – because He paid our penalty on the cross? What could bring greater hope for better things to come than knowing that our eternal home is in heaven – because He rose from the grave on the third day? “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
If a house is not built on a solid foundation, then it doesn’t matter how awesome the floor plan is, nor how expensive the furniture in it, nor how impressed your friends are with your interior decorating – that house will not withstand the trials and storms that will surely come. The foundation is essential. Walking in the way of wisdom lays a solid foundation while living foolishly results in pain and destruction.
Let this truth soak in first, and next week I’ll share the two take-home assignments from this passage that will keep you walking in the way of wisdom.