A Word to the Wise

Steven J. Callis

Professionals use the term, “M3,” formally known as third molars. The common name among laymen, however, is “wisdom teeth.”  They are so named because they are the last of the adult teeth to appear, usually between the age of 17 and 25.  As described by one expert, these final molars appear much later than the other teeth, at an age where people are presumably “wiser” than as a child, when the other teeth erupt.

The running comedic routine, however, is that losing one’s wisdom teeth is unfortunate because most of us need all the wisdom we can obtain!  We have just completed the last of the wisdom teeth removals at my house.  If you have been through the experience, you know that the only thing funny about wisdom tooth extraction is the patient’s “show” during the immediate hours post-surgery.

Evidence has been posted on Youtube and Facebook, among other social media sites, for all the world to appreciate.  It seems a cruel trick to play on the victim, yet most adolescents actually request that someone video their episode because they will have no recollection of their actions and words at a later time.

One patient was adamant that the surgeon had removed her tongue, while another insisted she was adopted because her mom could not name her favorite food.  Then there was the tough athletic-type young man who began to cry when his dad told him his wisdom teeth had been removed, because he did not want to lose them.

Generally speaking, wisdom is not actually knowledge, but the ability to use the knowledge that one possesses.  Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Any fool can know.  The point is to understand.”

One person remarked of another, “How can he be so smart, yet not have a brain in his body!”  The reference was to a straight “A” student who demonstrated very little common sense.  That need for practical application of knowledge may be why King Solomon asked God for wisdom, rather than for wealth or long life.

The Bible offers practical help in the Book of James when it advises, “If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God…but when he asks, he must believe and not doubt.” One important characteristic of wisdom is that it usually enables the wise to help other people.  True wisdom does not seek glory, but resolution.  It does not seek honor, but peace.  It is not meant to exalt one person above another, but is a gift to be used “wisely.” And it is wisdom from God that is the truest, the surest, and the highest of all.

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