Even if you do not believe there is a God, I imagine that you have considered the importance of wisdom in your daily living. If you believe in God and look to Him for guidance and instruction in your ife, then writings that provide divine guidance are of utmost importance. There is a compilation of writings about wisdom that spans a few hundred years in the time period from 970 B.C. It is an amazing set of poetic sayings with very practical points, and the theme is, “To impart moral wisdom and uncommon sense for right living.”* These prominent sayings are in the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament of the Bible, and King Solomon, who reigned in Israel c. 970-930 B.C., is attributed with being one of the primary contributors. The Proverbs start with an outline of the purpose and theme and state: “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline;for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young – let the wise listen and add to their learning,and let the discerning get guidance for understanding proverbs and parables,he sayings and riddles of the wise.The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”**
The wisdom and instruction from the Proverbs is profound and worth the reading. I do not know of any works we currently have that compare. There is a saying though that is worth an
analysis. That is The Golden Rule. I was speaking to a member of my family recently about the importance of The Golden Rule in our daily living. When we apply it to our lives in all sorts of situations, the end result seems to improve, and certainly our own understanding of the people around us improves.
It is unclear who first coined The Golden Rule, but most often it is stated, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” One article on point said, “The Golden Rule or the ethic of reciprocity is found in the scriptures of nearly every religion. It is often regarded as the most concise and general principle of ethics.”*** It is interesting because every religion has some idea of reciprocity, making the first person to think this way nearly impossible to discover. In Christianity, we find the foundation in Matthew 7:12, which says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
A recent event in my life underscored this whole teaching. A few weeks ago,we experienced the most blustery day I have seen. I arrived in the parking lot at work, and carefully opened my door in an effort to not hit the car next to mine. The door stopped, but when I let go to reach for my purse and briefcase, a gust of wind came with a vengeance and knocked my car door into the car next to mine (HARD). When I looked I could not believe the large red gash in my neighbor’s car door. I knew I needed to let the owner know of what had happened, so I left a note inside the car (he had left the window partially down on the driver’s side) with my name, phone number, what had happened and an explanation that I wanted to make it right. I told my co-workers I feared that it would cost me $1,000.00 or so, and they agreed. By the end of that work day, a message came from the car owner, but to my surprise, it was one of the kindest messages I have ever heard. He told me not to worry at all about it, and THEN, he thanked me for leaving the note for him. He said, “Not too many people would even leave a note.”
Yesterday, my co-workers and I took two dozen cupcakes (from The Flying Cupcake) to him. I may have a new friend for life, and something that could have been terrible turned into something beautiful.
*Introduction to Proverbs, Bible, NIV
**Proverbs 1: 1-7.
***Dr. Andrew Wilson, International Religious Foundation, 1991, World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts
Written by Marti StarkeyartM