Day 1 of Great Lent
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction…to receive the instruction of wisdom”
You have probably seen some of the multitude of articles and websites discussing how much we need to work our brains to keep us thinking and make us smarter. There are even websites that promise to increase your brain power for a small monthly fee. Perhaps you do daily crossword puzzles, Wordle, or Sudoku to help you think more intelligently. All of these things are good, but not of the greatest importance. We all know people that may be extremely intelligent, but may not be very wise in how they live their lives. Simply put, having intelligence does not equal being wise.
On this first day of Great Lent, there is a challenge set before us to exercise our brain in such a way as to increase our wisdom (intelligence also comes with wisdom…but not necessarily the other way around). In the opening of Proverbs 1, we are told why King Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs: “To know wisdom…” In fact he gives us a wonderful list of things that could be ours if we take time to study this book. “A wise man will hear and increase learning and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel” (Proverbs 1:4-5).
The Scriptures tell us that King Solomon so pleased God at the beginning of his reign, that God said: “Ask me for whatever you want me to give you.” He could have asked for riches or long life, but instead he asked God for wisdom and discernment. God responded: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice,behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” (You can read that whole story in 1 Kings 3 or in the Septuagint Version in 3 Kingdoms 3 – Orthodox Study Bible on page 392).
We can seek intelligence through puzzles, games, and various website brain exercises. Better still, during this year’s Lenten journey, we could seek wisdom through our study of the Book of Proverbs. Each day, we can do our daily readings and find wisdom on how to live our lives. This would be a most excellent way to exercise our brains! May the Lord help us to schedule time each day to focus on our daily readings. Truly, we have everything to gain from this small discipline in our lives.