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Christ-centered Knowledge and Wisdom as Wealth

Updated: Feb 26

For about a year, I have been interested in the topic of economics, and I have been reading books and listening to podcasts on this topic, and trying to discern how Christians should think about wealth, because of the broad confusion about the relationship between justice and wealth, because of the economic downturn that our nation is facing, and because of widely divergent views on what leads to a flourishing economy. 


One of the principles that I have learned in this process is that knowledge and wisdom is wealth, or at least a deep root of wealth.  And the way I have come to define wealth is that it is the biblical definition of shalom, “the reconciliation of all things to God through the work of Christ, accompanied by physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being.”  This definition includes the physical aspect of well-being, including the financial.  But it is not a formula.  You don’t get certain pieces of knowledge and wisdom, which leads to financial security.  It requires the priority of the spiritual well-being, the priority of the kingdom of God.  It requires a commitment to live in the fear (positive sense) of the Lord.  In many ways, biblical vision of wealth is counterintuitive.  Even though there seems to be limited resources, more wealth is created when we live in the fear of the Lord, when we voluntarily help those who are need, and when our hearts are united in Christ.


Implications of this biblical vision of wealth for education is that our children need to grow in a God-centered knowledge and wisdom.  But how do children grow in a God-centered knowledge and wisdom?  I would argue that this kind of knowledge and wisdom is more caught than taught.  Children and parents alike seek a deeper sense of wealth than mere financial and physical comfort.  So, the only way children will catch a deeper sense of well-being, a deeper sense of wealth, is when they see it in the lives of their parents and their significant others.


The other day, I received as an early birthday gift perhaps the most meaningful gift I have ever received.  It was from my children.  It was a framed painting of Joseph Turner’s “Ulysses deriding Polyphemus.”  We recently visited Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and I fell in love with Joseph Turner’s paintings, and my daughter knew this.  And to accompany the painting was a card (with a Monet painting on the cover, which we purchased at the MET) with the following words:


Dad, as I’ve spent more time at home since I’ve graduated, I have made a few observations: you work diligently and without complaint.  I have learned this comes not from merely a rigid sense of duty, but from a heart that overflows with grace and humility.  Men of this quality are rare in this world. . . thank you for showing me what continual self-sacrifice looks like, that work is about “why” and not merely “what” (as culture mistakenly believes). 


In the past few months, I’ve been learning more about our family history (through x and y), and the more I learned the more amazed and humbled I am that despite the suffering you and Grandpa endured, instead of withering under the burden of it all, because of Christ, you sought to bring not only your family but our culture closer to His truth, goodness, and beauty (kind of like Odysseus leading his men homeward).  I am unspeakably grateful that you are my father, that this passion for knowledge and Christ is my inheritance, and I pray that God blesses and sustains your every effort in this life as He will in the next.   


I debated on whether to share this or not, but I decided to do it with permission, as it is not really about me or my family (this is a rare moment), but a testimony of God’s precious plan for all of us.  As you can surmise at my response in receiving this gift, strangely the painting was describing my exact emotion as I received it.  "Blessed is the one who finds wisdom. . . long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor." (Prov 3:13, 16). 


Please sign up for one or more of the book clubs (by zoom) that are forming, so that we may grow in wisdom and knowledge which we can pass down to our children.  Soon, I will also open up a Fathers Book study Fellowship (in person).   

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