I have hunch that when March Madness rolls around, you and your family are filling out brackets, turning on the game, and cheering on your favorite team. Especially being in the Triangle, the month of March means seeing a lot of red and different shades of blue. It’s always an interesting dynamic when a house is comprised of alumnus from rival schools… I suppose there’s a little more tension when the house is divided! I also have a hunch that your children root for your favorite team as well – or at least you wish they will! It is important for us that we pass down certain things to our children, whether it’s a favorite team or moral values. We all want to “pass our legacy” on to the next generation.
The author of Proverbs knows this. Usually when we think of the book of Proverbs, we think of those short, wisdom filled two-liners:
“Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 [CSB])
“Where there are no oxen, the feeding through is empty, but an abundant harvest comes through the strength of an ox.” (Proverbs 14:4)
It’s true, Proverbs is chalk full of the short wise sayings. However, the collection of these proverbs does not begin until chapter 10… so what’s going on in chapters 1-9? In these chapters the author is setting up a big picture of what wisdom is. These chapters are framed as 10 speeches from a father to a son. The father is urging the son to take up his instruction, to take up the mantle of wisdom. “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8). The whole book of Proverbs is set up like a father passing down his wisdom to his son!
In our recent podcast, Dr. Benjamin Quinn defines wisdom in some helpful ways. First, wisdom is simply the person of Jesus, “in [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3). Second, wisdom is walking in the way of the Lord, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you except to fear the LORD your God by walking in all his ways, to love him, and to worship the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul?” (Deuteronomy 10:12). So let’s put these two ideas together. Jesus, the one who is Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24), came down to the world He created (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-17), and said that the best way to live in His world is to love God, and love neighbor (Mark 12:28-31). Living a wise life is no less than living in a way that shows love for God and love for neighbor. Christ is the one who displayed this in the most ultimate way, and we are to walk the trail He has blazed.
So here is the big question: what are you passing down to your children? What values and ideals are you children learning from you? Are you children learning more about NCAA teams, or learning how to live a wise life? A part of family discipleship (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) is passing down wisdom. As you teach your children the truths of the gospel, you are teaching them about the one who is Wisdom. As you deal with the nitty gritty of daily life (school, grades, friends, heartbreaks, failed expectations, etc.), instill a longing for Godly wisdom in your child’s life. How can they show love for God and love for neighbor in their current situation? What does the Bible say about the situation there in? The more we have these type of conversations, the more we are teaching your children to live wisely.
Here is a challenge for your family: take the month of April, and read one chapter of Proverbs a day together as a family. After you read, ask these questions:
- What stood out to you from this chapter?
- Is there any nuggets of wisdom from this text that applies directly to something you are going through?
- What from this chapter can help us to love God and love neighbor more?
I need wisdom, you need wisdom, and our children need wisdom. We need to know how to best live in the world God made. As we pursue after Jesus, let us impress a love for the one who is Wisdom in the next generation.