I typically describe my calling as “teacher of last resort.” Frequently I only teach because everyone else said no.
While I have learned to study without deadlines, I would really like to receive a request that does not begin: “We’re desperate.”
Shouldn’t accumulating wisdom merit the occasional “first call”? Not that my paltry understanding even approaches the wisdom given to Solomon, but 1 Kings tells us Solomon’s wisdom was so renowned people from all over the world flocked to him.
Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. . . . Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom. – 1 Kings 4:29-34
Solomon had real wisdom to offer a broken world. Yet, he failed to learn the most important lesson: Solomon valued the gift of wisdom more than the Giver of the gift.
For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.- 1 Kings 11:4
Solomon’s wisdom became legendary, but shouldn’t the God who granted such wisdom have become legendary? Solomon neglected to dispense the source of his wisdom with the wisdom itself.
Wisdom is only a renewal resource when we know the Source. The students who applied Solomon’s wisdom to their problems would not know how to solve the next problem — unless they also knew the God behind that wisdom. In our zeal to offer charity, kindness, and mercy to the down-trodden, we sometimes neglect to give the greater gift: the Source of charity, kindness, and mercy.
‘Teacher of last resort” is not so bad — if first resort is pursuing the Giver of wisdom.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7