One Year Wisdom Challenge

Trading the Fool’s Cap for Wisdom’s Crown- Part Two


Wisdom Challenge #20

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you truly are,” E.E. Cummings noted. How true that is. I believe our culture will someday soon be led by grown-ups. Not just people old in years but people of any age who know who they are and why God placed them on earth. Meanwhile, right now, age and wisdom are uncool in much of society. Watch fashion, social media, and entertainment trends if you doubt that.

Our key verse for this month warns us not to blow off the wisdom of those wiser than us.

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9.

When a culture disrespects the wisdom acquired with age, they do it at their own peril. I’m recalling a time we camped near a group of six teenage boys. They were camping in a pop-up, a hybrid between a tent and trailer. The roof of a pop-up raises up on hinges or posts and sits above canvas walls and a hard-walled trailer base. 

We overheard the group discuss turning their roof into a sun porch.  An elderly couple nearby, warned the boys of the damage they could do to the roof supports but only received the wave off. The boys managed to place four beach chairs up on the roof without climbing up onto it. Fascinated, we turned our chairs slightly to see what unfolded.

We cringed as one boy after another climbed up onto the roof and took their place in a chair, cheering loudly for each successful mount. All four boys mounted the roof and still it held. Until it didn’t. We saw the metal supports start to bend and that was followed by a lot of screaming. When two posts collapsed, the boys in their chairs slid off as fast as you can brush crumbs off a cutting board. Miraculously, there were no broken bones. Angels on duty. Wisdom MIA.

This month as I share wisdom from my family, I want to encourage you to think about and articulate the wisdom you’ve acquired, the life principles that keep you on God’s path. Wisdom that should be carefully passed down to others in your sphere of influence.

Young people are starting to understand that the wheels are coming off their lives because of the choices they’ve made. They are and will continue to look for authentic people who don’t preach at them but are ready to humbly share the wisdom they’ve gathered along their journey. Sharing stories of our failures and poor choices along with the lessons learned, is powerful. Are you ready to do that?

To help you, I created the “Wisdom Assessment and Reflection,” worksheet, available on my website as a free download, under “Wisdom Challenge Resources,” for the month of July. You can use it to help you think about and sort out the wisdom you live by so that you can share it with others.

****The devotional for the wisdom concepts about relationships shared in the June posts from Proverbs 27 is also now available under the June section of the Wisdom Challenge resources page.  Each of the twenty devotionals is based on one of the pieces of wisdom we looked at in Proverbs 27 and encourages you to think about those ideas a little more deeply. Enjoy, “Healthy Connections-God’s Advice for Your Relationships,” as a free download, along with all the other devotionals I’ve posted on that page.

I am privileged to have been born into a family rich with wisdom, knowledge, and insight. Volumes of stories and advice that I should probably write down. In this post, I’ll share just one more that has rescued me from discouragement and self-pity many, many times.

Don’t Let the Turkeys Get You Down

This life lesson comes from my dad, Elwin Skinkle, who recently joined my mother in heaven. To be precise, whenever he said it to me it sounded like, “Ah. (In a dismissive tone towards all turkey-minded behavior) Don’t let the turkeys getcha down.”  Maybe this isn’t quite as spiritual sounding as you expected, but there’s a good scriptural foundation for it.

My Dad’s advice was built on Isaiah 40:31. But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”

 Dad taught me that we can choose whether we will peck around like a turkey or soar like an eagle. Life is a series of challenges and choices as to how we will respond to those challenges. If we look to the approval or encouragement of others to get all our wind, we will live a turkey life. People who choose that often try to clip eagle-people’s wings, to justify their own earth-bound lives. They have forgotten they were created to soar.

Only people who wait on God, listen to him for direction and then count on him for lift will soar like eagles as Isaiah promises. Turkey behavior in others can be incredibly discouraging when we are trying to fulfill our destiny.  Following God obediently and relentlessly involves risk. That makes some people uncomfortable. They will criticize, at worst, or passively not support you. Choosing to soar like an eagle with God is a choice towards good and a turning away from the evil of trying to please people and gain all our strength primarily from them.

Have you ever seen a flock of eagles? You won’t. Occasionally you’ll see what appears to be a small group simply because they are following one another to a better feeding ground. For the most part, eagles fly alone.  They are amazing birds that can fly higher than storm clouds, essentially rising above a storm.

As a teenager, I heard this phrase frequently from my dad as I swung back and forth between eagle behavior and the flock mentality that is common at that age. I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to be a weirdo outcast. Who ever does? Although we can function beautifully like a flock of geese in the body of Christ to accomplish goals together, as far as our own, individual walk with God and the ability to discover and fulfill our destiny, the best of this occurs from the eagle’s vantage point.

We spend time alone with God. We learn on our own to recognize his voice so we can hear clear direction and insight or be steered towards someone who has something God wants to give us through them. After that, whatever comes at us in a day, we should be able to soar without constant approval or encouragement from others. That’s what my dad taught me.

I hope this has inspired you to reflect upon your own accumulated bank of wisdom. With whom are you sharing it? Are you functioning as a river or a reservoir? If you aren’t already in discipling, mentoring relationships, what will you do in the next week to begin at least one? People’s lives are delaminating for lack of knowledge, as the prophet Hosea talks about in his fourth chapter. Will we stand by and say, “Oh well, not my problem,” or will we do the messy work of engaging with them?

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One Comment

  • JayneR

    Hi, Sharon Great thoughts! I didn’t think I had anything to add, but I would like to share a few thoughts. If I am not mistaken, Sharon, didn’t you go through several health issues? I also did. But those alone times, the Lord drew me close to His side during those long days and nights. When my health concerns began, I remember laying on the couch in the living room, leaning my back into the couch. I would close my eyes and pray. As the days and weeks passed, having my Bible by my side I read and paged through the New Testament. I read over and over; at this point, I didn’t study the Book of Revelation. As I read over and over the effect, Jesus had on people. Jesus healing all who came to Him. And then the touching scene of Jesus calling children to come to Him. Not a licensed individual (Dr., Nurse, a philosopher, a 3-star general, or a Pulitzer Prize winner, not a millionaire, but children. They may even have a runny nose getting on His lap, but when they left- they didn’t! They were healed also!
    When I continued to read and study my eyes were fastened in the book of Acts, WOW!!! I prayed Lord, this Holy Spirit was this the FIRE that birthed COURAGE, BOLDNESS, and does this Holy Spirit give us an understanding of Scripture? Discernment? Hope? Lord, the nerves of steel those disciples had, through the love of Jesus and in the teachings He fed to each one of the disciples they became His extension to more people and those people to more people. God’s plan of the Multiplication factor.
    Days passed, but my Bible stayed by my side. As I turned back to the Book of Acts, I prayed, Lord If this Holy Spirit is the real deal, I want it! Please show me every text that talks of the Holy Spirit. That was in the 1970s

    Through the other bumps in the road with my health and the quiet times with the Lord. Along with the Word, Christian Music was added to mealtime!! I listened to Derek Prince, Jimmy Swaggert, and a radio program that First Assembly, (WAAAY Back!) I began watching Christian TV. Constantly taking notes and clipping newspaper ads that went along with what I read in scripture. The more I sought the Lord for more, it was more I received.

    In putting this all down, my purpose was to share even when a family where things were not so positive, Jesus sees all, hears all and answers prayers of His children

    I enjoyed your message!

    jayne Rotman

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