16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom,
when they are not able to understand it?
17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
It is an unfortunate thing in our world that there is far more interest in buying wisdom than there is in cultivating it. For many it is the results that matter most, and we’ll subscribe to anything that will teach us how to get them. But the first aim of wisdom is not outward improvement, but the maturation of the inner self. In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis put is like this:
“For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline, and virtue. For the modern, the cardinal problem is how to conform reality to the wishes of man, and the solution is a technique.”
Purchasing is perhaps the simplest of techniques. Money tempts us with the promise of easy solutions to our problems, but it is powerless over the inner condition in which we find ourselves. We may deny our flaws, but we cannot escape them – and we certainly can’t buy our way out of them. But if we embrace wisdom, and let it enter our hearts, we can learn to overcome them.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Here are two more things of great value; friendship and family. If we are not careful, along with wisdom these things are easily crowded out by busyness. But does work love you even when you’re falling behind? Does it stand by you in times of trouble? It is good to be diligent in what you do, but it is essential to first be devoted to those you love. Don’t let busyness distract you from what’s truly important.