A Book of Wisdom With a Message for Today
“A BAGFUL of wisdom is worth more than one full of pearls,” observed the ancient patriarch Job, who was undoubtedly one of the richest men of his time. (Job 1:3; 28:18; 42:12) Truly, wisdom is worth far more than material possessions when it comes to helping a person to make a success of his life. “Wisdom is for a protection the same as money is for a protection,” said wise King Solomon, “but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.”—Ecclesiastes 7:12.
But where can such wisdom be found today? People turn to advice columnists, psychologists, psychiatrists, even hairdressers and taxi drivers, with their personal problems. And experts without number are ready to dispense advice on almost any subject—for a suitable fee. Often, though, such words of “wisdom” have led only to disappointment, even disaster. How, then, can we find true wisdom?
Jesus Christ, who had great insight into human affairs, once said: “Wisdom is proved righteous by its works.” (Matthew 11:19) Let us look at some common problems in people’s lives and see what words of wisdom have truly helped them and have proved to be worth more to them than ‘a bagful of pearls.’ You too may be able to find that “bagful of wisdom” and benefit from it.
Are You Suffering From Depression?
“If the 20th century ushered in the Age of Anxiety, its exit is witnessing the dawn of the Age of Melancholy,” notes the International Herald Tribune of London. It adds that “the first international study of major depression reveals a steady rise in the disorder worldwide. In nations as diverse as Taiwan, Lebanon and New Zealand each successive generation is growing more vulnerable to the malady.” Those born after 1955 are said to be three times more likely to suffer a major depression than were their grandparents.
That was the case with Tomoe, who suffered from major depression and spent most of her days in bed. As she could not take care of her two-year-old son, she moved back to her parents’ home. A neighbor who had a daughter the same age as Tomoe’s son soon befriended her. When Tomoe told the neighbor how worthless she felt, the neighbor showed her a text from a book. It read: “The eye cannot say to the hand: ‘I have no need of you’; or, again, the head cannot say to the feet: ‘I have no need of you.’ But much rather is it the case that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.”* Tears welled up in Tomoe’s eyes as she realized that everyone has a place in the world and is needed.
The neighbor recommended that she look into the book that contained those words. Tomoe nodded in agreement, even though up till then she had not been able to do anything, not even commit herself to make a simple promise. The neighbor also helped her shop, and she prepared meals with Tomoe every day. One month later Tomoe was getting up every morning, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, shopping, and preparing dinner, just as any housewife would do. She had to overcome many difficulties, but she said, “I was confident that if I just followed the words of wisdom I had found, I’d be fine.”
By applying the wisdom she had found, Tomoe overcame the gloomy days of her depression. Now Tomoe works full-time at helping others to apply the same words that enabled her to cope with her problems. Those words of wisdom are contained in an ancient book that has a message for all people today.
Are You Facing Domestic Problems?
Around the world the divorce rate is escalating. Domestic problems are increasing even in Oriental countries, where people once took pride in their close-knit families. Where can we find wise marriage guidance that works?
Consider the case of Shugo and Mihoko, a couple who had endless marital problems. They quarreled over every trifle. Shugo was short-tempered, and Mihoko shot back every time he found fault with her. Mihoko even thought, ‘It is impossible for us to agree on anything.’
One day a woman visited Mihoko and read to her these words from a book: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.”* Although not interested in religion, Mihoko agreed to study the book that contained those words. Her interest was in improving her family life. So when she was invited to attend a meeting where a publication entitled Making Your Family Life Happy was discussed, Mihoko—and her husband—readily accepted.*
At the meeting, Shugo noted that those in attendance were actually applying what they were learning and that they seemed to be happy. He decided to look into the book that his wife was studying. One statement soon caught his attention: “He that is slow to anger is abundant in discernment, but one that is impatient is exalting foolishness.”* Although it took time for him to apply this principle in his life, the gradual change in him was manifest to those around him, including his wife.
Seeing the changes in her husband, Mihoko also started to apply what she was learning. One principle that proved especially helpful was this: “Stop judging that you may not be judged; for with what judgment you are judging, you will be judged.”* So Mihoko and her husband decided that they would talk about their good points and how they could improve rather than find fault with each other. What was the result? Mihoko recalls: “It has made me really happy. We have been doing this at dinner each evening. Even our three-year-old son joins in the conversation. It has been truly refreshing to us!”
When this family put into practice the meaningful counsel that they had received, they were able to overcome the problems that had been straining their relationship to the breaking point. Is that not worth more to them than a bagful of pearls?
Do You Want to Make a Success of Your Life?
For many today, accumulating riches is the goal in life. Yet, a rich businessman in the United States who has given away hundreds of millions of dollars to charity once said: “Money has an attraction for some people, but nobody can wear two pairs of shoes at one time.” Few are those who admit this fact and fewer still are those who stop pursuing riches.
Hitoshi grew up poor, so he had a strong desire to be rich. After seeing how creditors twist people around their little finger, he decided: “The one who grabs ahold of the money is the winner.” Hitoshi believed so much in the power of money that he thought even human lives could be bought with it. In order to accumulate riches, he applied himself to his plumbing business and worked all year round, never taking a day off. As hard as he tried, Hitoshi soon realized that he, a subcontractor, would never be as powerful as the contractors who gave him work. Frustration and fear of bankruptcy were his daily portion.
Then a man came to Hitoshi’s door and asked him if he knew that Jesus Christ had died for him. Since Hitoshi felt that no one would die for a person like him, he was curious and agreed to have further discussions. The following week, he attended a lecture and was shocked to hear the admonition to ‘keep the eye simple.’ The speaker explained that a “simple” eye is one that is farsighted and focused on spiritual things; on the other hand, a “wicked,” or “envious,” eye is focused only on immediate fleshly desires and is shortsighted. The counsel, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” hit him hard.* There is something more important than gaining riches! He had never heard anything like it.
Impressed, he started to apply what he was learning. Rather than toiling for money, he began to put spiritual values first in his life. He also spent time caring for the spiritual welfare of his family. Naturally, that meant less time for work, yet his business took a favorable turn. Why?
His aggressive personality changed to a mild and amicable one as he responded to counsel he was given. He was particularly impressed by the admonition: “Really put them all away from you, wrath, anger, badness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of your mouth. Do not be lying to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality, which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the One who created it.”* Following this advice did not make him rich, but his “new personality” did make a good impression on his clients and won their trust and confidence. Yes, the words of wisdom he found helped him to make a success of his life. For him, they were literally worth far more than a bagful of pearls or money.
Will You Open the Bag?
Can you identify the bagful of wisdom that has proved so valuable to the individuals in the above examples? It is the wisdom found in the Bible, the most widely circulated and most readily available book on earth. Possibly you have a copy or can easily obtain one. However, just as having a bagful of valuable pearls and not putting them to use would do the owner little good, simply having a Bible in one’s possession will also be of little value. Why not open up the bag, so to speak, and apply the Bible’s wise counsel and timely advice and see how it can help you to deal successfully with life’s problems.
If you were ever given a bagful of pearls, would you not be grateful and try to find out who your benefactor is so that you can thank him? Do you know who the Giver is in the case of the Bible?
The Bible reveals the Source of the wisdom found in it when it says: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial.” (2 Timothy 3:16) It also tells us that “the word of God is alive and exerts power.” (Hebrews 4:12) That is why the wise words found in the Bible are timely and effective for us today. Jehovah’s Witnesses would be delighted to help you to learn about this generous Giver, Jehovah God, so that you can come in line for being a beneficiary of the “bagful of wisdom” contained in the Bible—the book of wisdom with a message for people today.
The quotation is from 1 Corinthians 12:21, 22.
Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
Matthew 6:21-23; footnote.
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Words of Wisdom for Maintaining Emotional Balance
“If errors were what you watch, O Jah, O Jehovah, who could stand? For there is the true forgiveness with you, in order that you may be feared.”—Psalm 130:3, 4.
“A joyful heart has a good effect on the countenance, but because of the pain of the heart there is a stricken spirit.”—Proverbs 15:13.
“Do not become righteous overmuch, nor show yourself excessively wise. Why should you cause desolation to yourself?”—Ecclesiastes 7:16.
“There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—Acts 20:35.
“Be wrathful, and yet do not sin; let the sun not set with you in a provoked state.”—Ephesians 4:26.
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Words of Wisdom for a Happy Family Life
“There is a frustrating of plans where there is no confidential talk, but in the multitude of counselors there is accomplishment.”—Proverbs 15:22.
“The heart of the understanding one acquires knowledge, and the ear of wise ones seeks to find knowledge.”—Proverbs 18:15.
“As apples of gold in silver carvings is a word spoken at the right time for it.”—Proverbs 25:11.
“Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also. But, besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”—Colossians 3:13, 14.
“Know this, my beloved brothers. Every man must be swift about hearing, slow about speaking, slow about wrath.”—James 1:19.
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Words of Wisdom for Making a Success of Life
“A cheating pair of scales is something detestable to Jehovah, but a complete stone-weight is a pleasure to him.”—Proverbs 11:1.
“Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”—Proverbs 16:18.
“As a city broken through, without a wall, is the man that has no restraint for his spirit.”—Proverbs 25:28.
“Do not hurry yourself in your spirit to become offended, for the taking of offense is what rests in the bosom of the stupid ones.”—Ecclesiastes 7:9.
“Send out your bread upon the surface of the waters, for in the course of many days you will find it again.”—Ecclesiastes 11:1.
“Let a rotten saying not proceed out of your mouth, but whatever saying is good for building up as the need may be, that it may impart what is favorable to the hearers.”—Ephesians 4:29.
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Studying the Bible is the first step toward becoming a beneficiary of the “bagful of wisdom”