Today, we commence a new series of blogs from Graham Hooper, author of?“Undivided – closing the faith-life gap”. ?We have already interviewed Graham here?so it is very exciting to have him now providing further wisdom gleaned from his years of experience in the workplace!
?Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding? (3:13)
The book of Proverbs deals with everyday life. We don?t learn there much about prayer, or worship, or the doctrines of salvation or the afterlife. But we do find there great wisdom on living and working in a godless world.
Derek Kidner, my favourite commentator on the book of Proverbs, commented that it ?seldom takes you to church?. He goes on to explain what he means. ?It calls across to you in the street about some everyday matter…Its function in Scripture is to put godliness into working clothes, to name business and society as spheres in which we are to acquit ourselves with credit to our Lord… ? .?
It is a great book to turn to before we set out to work in the morning. Why? Because it deals directly, and with pithy and sometimes funny illustrations, about many of the issues we face in our working day: honesty, the value of hard work, dealing with conflict, willingness to listen and learn, wise communication, the balance between planning and faith and the folly of self-promotion, unfaithfulness and deceit. It helps us understand what foolishness and wisdom look like in the real world.
We need wisdom at work because it is there that we spend most of our waking hours. Our daily task may not require us to make major crisis decisions every day but it will require us to speak, act and react in seemingly mundane situations. As we make hundreds of small decisions, which affect others and influence the direction of our own lives, we have the Holy Spirit as our guide and the Bible as our teacher, but these point us to wisdom as a precious gift that we should prize very highly.
In order to get wisdom, we are invited to ask God to give it to us (James 1:5). We also need to study and apply the Scripture. Proverbs is a good place to start.
Proverbs contains many warnings, most of which come under the heading ?don?t mess up your life by foolish words and foolish actions?. Our TV news bulletins and newspapers feed us a daily diet of situations where people have messed up badly: the business man caught in corrupt practices, the politicians enmeshed in sex or bribery scandals, athletes using drugs to cheat their way to success and people and businesses taking each other to court because trust has broken down, I could go on.? In our own workplace we may well encounter people who mess up their own lives and spoil those of other through bullying, cheating, gossip and other ?inappropriate behaviour?. If we are wise we learn not only from the Scriptures but also from our own mistakes and the mistakes of others.
But the thrust of Proverbs is much more than instructions and warnings. It pictures wisdom as like a beautiful jewel of inestimable value that adorns the wearer (3:15, 22).
Wisdom in action actually beautifies our lives and transforms the workplace and whoever finds wisdom and exercises wisdom is truly blessed.
 Proverbs, Derek Kidner, Tyndale old Testament Commentaries, IVP, 1964, P.33?