“There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard. Wisdom is better than weapons of war…” (Ecclesiastes 9:14-16, 18a)
I enjoy stories of underdogs who turn out to be heroes or under appreciated nobodies who become people of great renown, based on their morals, character traits, and priorities. Even more inspiring are stories of real Christians who have lived quiet lives of faith but were only known by a few people. Their faith has yielded its greatest reward-the crown of life. It is a reassuring to know that “the last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16). The story in Ecclesiastes, about the forgotten poor, wise man is a case in point. His wisdom is recorded in Scripture for eternity, as a great example and encouragement for humble wisdom. We are not told his name, and we will not recognize him in heaven unless he introduces himself as the poor, wise man who delivered his little city with a few people.
God’s wisdom does what human strength cannot do. The world despises God’s wisdom and will not hear His words, out of hard-heartedness. “Men may brag and boast and display their might, but it is the quiet word of wisdom which saves.”* Christians who desire wisdom undertake a continual battle against popularity and worldly recognition or at least we should. There is great danger in fame; it is a small but deadly spot of invisible black ice on the path of wisdom. The only way to avoid smugness is to constantly be on the watch for it. To be wise, we must be willing to be Christ-like, according to Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” The more we embrace the idea of being quiet and unknown to the world, the more wisdom we will accumulate, and the more useful we will be to Christ.
Are you willing to become small and quiet? Will you ask God to give you the willingness to be forgotten to the world, but wise for His use?
* Zondervan Bible Commentary, One-Volume Illustrated Software Edition, F. F. Bruce, General Editor