Faith and Family Business: The Heart of the Book of Proverbs

By Bill Long on January 4, 2016

If you were to ask almost anyone in American society today what their personal goals were, most would respond that they wanted a successful business, a loving family, a long life, good friends. All of those things are affirmed in Scripture, but what is missing from that catalogue is the central virtue of the central verse of the central chapter of the Book of Proverbs: wisdom. Indeed, from the first verses of Proverbs (1:2) to almost the last (31:26), as well as the middle verse (16:16), wisdom is to be prized above all things.

In they typical language of Proverbs, where the second half of the verse repeats the first half but in different words, we have (16:16):

“How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”

But what is this wisdom? What is its definition? Its contours? How do you get it?  How do you keep it? What is really the benefit of Biblical wisdom? And what does it mean in the context of family business, where frustration and conflict coexist continually with visions of opportunity and feelings of love? The questions flow like a mountain stream after the Spring thaw. And, that will be the quest of this column for the next several months—to try to understand and make personal the Biblical concept of wisdom in our lives and closely held companies. Remember, wisdom is at the heart of Proverbs. Let’s pray that it will be at the center of our lives.