Croutons of Wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
Recently, I found myself at our small-town grocery store searching for croutons. I’ve been in the store a hundred times, but I’ve never bought croutons before, so I had no idea where they were. Determined to find them on my own, I started in aisle one and proceeded to search every aisle . . . twice. I must have spent 15 minutes looking through that store, but they were nowhere to be found. Eventually, in futility, I found an employee and asked if they even had croutons. Yes, they had them. Follow me. I trailed behind him as he took me back to aisle one, where they sat in plain sight. Next time, I told myself, I’ll just ask for help as soon as I walk in. I probably won’t though.
I’ve done much the same thing with God. Lost and struggling, I’ve floundered on my own, failing to turn to God for the answer. Usually it’s because I only think of God as a last resort. I turn to him only when all else has failed. Other times, I don’t turn to God because I know what his answer will probably be and I’m trying to avoid it.
If I eventually do turn to God, I have very specific expectations of how he should answer. In the grocery store, I had to seek the employee. When I found him, I had to ask for help and then follow him to the answer. It would have been foolish if I’d have just stood in aisle nine, yelling for croutons, hoping that someone would drop them in my cart. Yet I do this with God. I need help, but I don’t truly seek him. I don’t abandon my way for his. If I do finally ask him for help, I don’t follow him. I just throw up a prayer, expecting that he’ll drop the answer in my cart. I continue down my own aisle, hoping that God will chase me down and provide the answer. That’s not seeking God and it’s not the path to wisdom.
Today’s passage tells us that God desires to bestow his wisdom upon us. However, he does want us to seek him, ask him, listen to him, and follow him. If we’re lost and we need wisdom, we must do what it takes to turn to God, which usually involves abandoning ourselves. We must ask and then we must patiently listen. When he answers, we must follow his way instead of our own. God desires to give us wisdom, but to find it, we must genuinely seek it.