One of the bold claims of Wisdom Literature (the books that encompass Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) is that wisdom is better for us than anything else we can conceive of. In fact, this is the central purpose of this genre of Biblical books – to show the value of wisdom.
Wisdom has all of the characteristics of a great treasure.
It is valuable. The truth is, none of us want silver and gold, money or stock options, just for the sake of it. They are resources. Literally, currencies. A means toward something else. What is that something else? What do we hope our money will buy for us? Significance? Influence? Purpose? Wisdom is a treasure because it is the truer path to all of these things. It is, in reality, a manifestation of the values we hold most dear. Wisdom allows us to use our resources effectively. Wisdom invites us to perceive truly. Wisdom ushers meaning into our lives that transcends circumstance. It allows us to steward our opportunities.
Another great characteristic of treasure is that you have to find it. You’ve got to go out and seek it. Wisdom is bigger than any one of us. We have to search for it. Look for it. Find it. But just like pirate treasure, what we truly desire is to make it our own. To take it into ourselves. Unlike gold and silver, physical treasures that pass hands, wisdom is not temporal. Like love, it is one of the few things that grows as you give it away. Wisdom is both internal and external. In order to truly be yourself, you have to find something bigger than yourself in which to participate. And wisdom is the truest path to both our self expression and our community involvement.
Lastly, like any treasure, wisdom costs us something. There is a price we have to pay. We work for money. We have to sacrifice energy, time, and effort. The price of wisdom is that we have to lay down our superficial, flesh-centered perspectives. Wisdom is often the harder way. An exercise in delayed gratification.
But unlike gold and silver, the prize exceeds the effort. With lesser treasures, we spend more than we gain because we are expending effort that might gain eternal rewards for the sake of a reward that will one day fade away . And there are countless stories of how worldly treasures actually destroy a person. On the other hand, wisdom provides. It rewards. It is the truest treasure we can possibly pursue in this life.
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.”
– Proverbs 3: 13-15