You may recall that James advised “if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and He will give it!” (1:5 -The Passion) Just like that! After giving vivid illustrations of the consequences of living contrary to the plan of God, James urges the readers of his keen letter, to seek wisdom.

Oh!” you might respond, “I’ll leave that to the clever folk. You know – the scholars, especially the Biblical ones. Surely it’s just as important to be humble as it is to be smart.

Or, you might think – better to be wise than foolish, and well, poor. After all, really smart ones know how to look after themselves, and don’t need to ask God for favours. Hah! But don’t you realise that this is not wisdom from God. No. It’s false wisdom! Surely, a contradiction in terms. Yes. Yes, that’s what James is making clear. There is God-granted wisdom, and worldly ‘wisdom’ or, (let’s call it out for what it is) smart-ness. There’s a distinct difference. And James urges: TAKE HEED.

One important distinction is that false wisdom talks incessantly, whilst true wisdom listens. Instead of blathering on about faith, true wisdom goes quietly about faithful acts. Remember: Actions speak louder than words. The wisdom that is God’s gift to us, has the qualities of peacefulness, gentleness, willingness to yield to others, compassion and kindness 9. The common sense of goodness, if you like. Yet, common sense ‘ain’t so common’ (refer to Galatians 5:22).

James essentially informs us that all God’s gifts are good and will provide comfort, satisfaction and joy!

So, it is no surprise that today’s passage includes the message means that:

Confidence in the good gifts of God means that we can pray with confidence for the expression of those gifts within ourselves.

Ah! May it be so!!

Graeme Cake

Lay Preacher, Hobart North Uniting Church