Biblical Wisdom in the Family Business: The Paradox and the Promise

By Bill Long on January 18, 2016

Last month I mentioned that the middle verse of the Book of Proverbs emphasized the importance of wisdom - "How much better to get wisdom than gold!  To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver" (16:16).  Today I invite you to consider both the paradox and promise of Biblical widsom according to Proverbs.  

We all know that a paradox is an apparant contradiction in terms.  CS Lewis used a paradox in describing his Narnia series:  "Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."  From the perspective of Proverbs the paradox of wisdom is this:  wisdom is both a divine gift and a human achievement.  It is something we pray earnestly for, but something that can largely be "figured out" by diligent listening and work.  Both prayer and work are necessary. I will explore this paradox in future columns.

The concept of wisdom in Proverbs also gives a promise.  If we seek it, and try to learn its way, we will be rewarded.  This "reward" is expressed in two ways: "then you will find the knowledge of God" (2:5) and "then you will understand what is right and just and fair - every good path" (2:9).  The benefits of Biblical wisdom are not simply in the spiritual realm; they lead to insight into the great triad of "right" and "just" and "fair."  This practical wisdom holds great promise for those trying to discern the right path - in family, business and family business.