Do you remember the Milton Bradley board game from the 1960’s called “The Game of LIFE?” At the beginning of the game as you turn the distinctive spinner you are confronted with two choices. You must choose to either go directly into business or go to college. For some reason as a kid playing this game, I always chose the college path. This probably came from the influence of my mother and father who barely finished high school. I was the first in my family to graduate. Years later when I played LIFE with my kids, I too would encourage them to take the university route as well. I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with foregoing campus life, especially with today’s escalating tuition and the potential of overwhelming student loan debt. Even though the statistics about the financial success of a college grad as compared to a high school grad are wide apart, I admit that college isn’t for everyone.
Graduation was for me a time filled with mixed feelings — fulfillment and sadness, anxiety and eagerness. Saying goodbye to the comfortable and secure life within the confines I was accustomed, to new environment. The uncertainty of the future and all of the choices that lie ahead loom large over new graduates as they spread out their wings. The new graduate needs lots of advice, inspiration and especially wisdom.
The Bible’s King Solomon is often called the wisest man who ever lived. The scriptures tell us that when he was young he was told by God that he could have any one thing that he asked for. What do you think Solomon choose? Money? Power? Position? Popularity? These might be things that any one of us would choose if given the same offer Solomon had. Instead, we are told in 1 Kings 3:3 that Solomon asked for wisdom. God was pleased with his choice and through obtaining wisdom, Solomon became the richest, most powerful, and influential person on earth. What a wise choice he made!
So I say to all the recent graduates and for that matter, all of us who are playing the real game of life, knowledge is good, but there is a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is about the accumulation of information and experience, wisdom is knowing when and how to apply what we learn to life. We may amass knowledge, but without wisdom, our knowledge is useless.
In Proverbs 9:10 Solomon says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Basically, the wisest man on earth is relaying to us all that an awesome respect for God is foundational to true wisdom: all other types of learning are worthless unless built upon a knowledge of the Lord himself. Life is all about choices so choose wisely.