For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
Why did you get up today? What is your greatest ambition for life? Whatever you are pursuing, it is inferior to wisdom, for all the things you can desire cannot be compared to wisdom. Why waste your life chasing worthless things? There are great riches in wisdom. Make wisdom your highest ambition and most important goal (Pr 4:7; 16:16; 23:23)!
What is wisdom? It is the power of right judgment – the ability to know what action pleases God and men in any situation. It is saying and doing the right thing every time. It is recognizing truth and error, no matter the efforts made to confuse or disguise them. It should be the pursuit of all men, but it is sought and obtained by only a few. Most men are obsessed with foolish distractions that will destroy them in this life and the next.
All the things men desire and spend their lives chasing could be listed and condemned, but exposing the three most popular will easily condemn the rest. These three common ambitions of men are education, financial success, and physical health; God thinks all three are foolish and vain (Jer 9:23-24). You have been warned. Do not waste your life.
From early on, many children are programmed to think education is life’s most important goal. Getting good grades, going to college, and getting an advanced degree from a prestigious university are viewed as grand and glorious achievements. But God mocks them (I Cor 1:19-21; 3:18-20; I Tim 6:20-21)! These educated fools acquire no wisdom – the fear of God and truth of the Bible. Divorces, depression, discontentment, drugs, and family dysfunction expose their folly. An illiterate farmer that fears God is far better.
Others plan to be professionally successful and acquire wealth. They want to be rich. They dream and slave to live in a fine home in an exclusive area. They want to drive the best automobiles, eat at the best restaurants, send their children to the best schools, and vacation in the most luxurious resorts. But money creates as many problems as it solves (Eccl 5:10-17); its pursuit ruins the souls of men (I Tim 6:6-10; Luke 12:13-21); it corrupts character (Pr 17:23; 18:23; 19:6); and you can take none of it with you at death.
An even more foolish pursuit is health, physical fitness, and bodily appearance – which are all losing battles until you die and wake up naked before God (I Tim 4:7-9). There is no discharge in this war (Eccl 8:8). In spite of all its efforts, vitamins, organic foods, health clubs, personal trainers, and alternative medicine, mankind has not added a single year to human life expectancy in the last 3000 years (Ps 90:10). Instead of seeking to live longer, they should have used the days and years they did have to live better (Ps 90:12).
Reader, what is your ambition? What goal do you have for your life? If it is one of these three pursuits that Scripture and nature expose as vanity, you are wasting your life and the air on this planet. If it is something less than these three lofty goals, you have made a terrible mistake. Solomon, possessing the greatest combination of wealth, wisdom, and power ever – experimented with more things than you can even imagine. What was his conclusion? Fear God and keep his commandments – true wisdom (Eccl 12:13-14)!
Godliness with contentment is great gain (I Tim 6:6). Godliness is pleasing God by your thoughts, words, and speech – the essence of true wisdom that Solomon exalted in this proverb. Contentment is happiness and satisfaction with yourself and your circumstances, no matter what they are. Together they are the key to a wonderful life. If you neglect or reject either, it would be better for you not to have been born. Wisdom is better than rubies, and there is nothing else in life even worth comparing to it. Seek wisdom today.