A Full Plate

Over the holidays, we received an advertisement from Olive Garden on our phones. This one immediately grabbed my attention: “May your life be as full as your plate.” I wonder who thought that one up. Most of us probably know more than we care to admit about full plates, especially after all the recent celebrating of Christmas and New Years.

But where does your mind go when you think of a full life? Maybe you think of living to old age, or having a house full of children, or achieving the American dream, or maybe you would consider a full life one where depression doesn’t dog your every step. Wherever we are on the full-life continuum, there’s one thing that will change the way you and I view our lives. . .and that’s heavenly wisdom.

Has wisdom come up in any of your conversations this week? Is it a regular subject in your home or at your school or university? Our culture puts a premium on information, education, and intelligence, viewing these as panaceas that will cure all our ills. I may not have a PhD in astrophysics, but I can make a common sense observation—or just turn on the news— and see that information, education, and intelligence aren’t working out so well, producing little more than stopgap solutions in a world gone mad.

Life is a process, and in that process God is shaping us and molding us, working every minute of every day in His desire to make us more like Jesus. All that squeezing, pinching, pruning, and even a little pounding can be painful, distressing, and often quite confusing. What’s a Christian to do?

According to James, the brother of Jesus, we’re to ask God for wisdom. With wisdom comes discernment, especially in knowing the difference between right and wrong. How many decisions do we face where that’s exactly what we need to know? And we ask believing that God gives good things to those who ask because He has promised to do just that.

When we were in London, we had a late dinner one evening, with everyone in the restaurant gazing at the television on the wall. The Brexit vote had been taken and the Brits were waiting to hear the outcome. Our waiter brought our meal but forgot to give us eating utensils. As he passed our table, we asked him if he could bring us some silverware. No big deal, right?

Several minutes passed. Then he appeared with his hands full of knives and forks—looking quite put out— and hurled them towards the center of the table. They made a startling sound and ricocheted in every direction. That’s not how our kind and patient heavenly Father responds to us. We are His children and He loves us in Christ as His own.

Think of your circumstances today, whatever they may be. Now think of them biblically. Heavenly wisdom weaves tightly into how we view our lives. It challenges our myopic cultural views and throws them up on the big screen of eternity, bringing perspective into focus.

Our circumstances will come and go, ordered by our wise Father for our good. In the process, the genuineness of our faith will be found in the warp and woof of our daily experiences—our trials, our disappointments, our failures, our successes— as we face them with godly wisdom.


If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:5






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