Scripture Focus: Ecclesiastes 1.18
18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
     the more knowledge, the more grief.

Reflection: More Wisdom, More Grief
By Erin Newton

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov 9.10). On the first steps of wisdom’s path, we learn about who God is and who we are. We begin to understand our faults and shortcomings paired with his unfailing mercy and grace. Our sins are laid bare, and we accept the free gift of grace from Jesus Christ.

We are made into a new creation, building upon the foundation blocks of wisdom. With eyes that now see the foolishness of our former lives, we begin to seek the Scriptures to learn more about who God is and who we are. Wisdom’s path leads us to discover our purpose in life and calling within the world.

Wisdom also reveals to us the complexity of the world. Our friends and neighbors are not merely companions or coworkers—we see them as image bearers of our God. The bonds of humanity tie our hearts with theirs. We learn to share their joys and bear their pains.

But “with much wisdom comes much sorrow.” We cannot now unsee the fallenness of creation. No longer can we look away when one human belittles another. No longer can we refuse to listen when someone cries out for help. No longer can we believe that one evil is lesser than another and somehow worthy of our admiration. We cannot pretend our actions have no negative consequences on the natural world.

Wisdom leads us to see the world as God sees it—filled with the potential of love, peace, and wholeness. However, the world is only a dim reflection of that ideal. Wisdom calls us to recognize where things have fallen short.

Just because we find wisdom does not mean we have found paradise. Our faith does not remove us from the realm of tragedy. Life, circumstantially, is not easier for a Christian than an unbeliever. Not only do we carry our own burdens, but we are aware of the needs of so many others. In this way, gaining knowledge has created increased grief.

But it is not without hope and not without a call to action. Wisdom begins with faith in God. The realities that bring us sorrow can be handled by an omnipotent God. 

Continue in wisdom. Welcome sorrow. The grief and sorrow brought by wisdom is a gift—a gift of awareness. Wisdom awakens us from the idleness of apathy.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
“Be still, then, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” — Psalm 46.11

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Ecclesiastes 1 (Listen 2:21)
Psalm 49 (Listen 2:10)

Read more about The Promise of Proverbs is Change
It is crucial to ask, “Are we becoming people of wickedness or righteousness?” What we become can change our world.

Read more about Proverbs’ House of Mirrors
Do our words rhyme with God’s? Or do they stink? Would we enjoy eating them?