“I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siege-works against it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard. The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.” Ecclesiastes 9:13-17
Zack Eswine shared his painfully powerful testimony intertwined with this passage at the Loving the Wayward Souls Conference. He was vulnerable and transparent in his desire to protect us from seeking after the things of the world. Here are some of his thoughts on how can we keep from, or turn from, being the wayward fool?
Note the repetition of the word, “great” in this passage.
What seems great to the proud king is worthless compared to the saving wisdom of the poor man.
The foolish king is large, fast, and famous. He is all about speed and emotions. But though the words of the wise are only heard in the quiet, they save the city.
Do we take the time to listen as Jesus reaches into our frenzied schedules and whispers to us to behold Him?
On the one hand, the foolish king brings war for the sake of conquering and he does not protect the people under his care. Meanwhile, the poor man delivers the people from the onslaught and remains unknown.
How do you see people? Too often it seems we see people simply as resources used to improve our reputation. Do we consider how to best love others when we tweet, take selfies, and post on Facebook?
Instead, let us turn our back from foolishness and turn toward wisdom.
- Remind yourself who our Deliverer is. Christ is not interested in our efficiency or advertising, but in our holiness. He does not bring about immediate relief, He is about the business of sanctification. He delivers in the quiet wisdom of His Father. He doesn’t consume His sheep but protects them as He shares His Presence.
- Are we willing to offer our presence to the people the Lord has placed in our lives? How do we comfort others? Do we cry, eat, laugh, and live ‘with’ them? These things take time and resources. They are not for the faint of heart or for those who live in a rush.
- Does it matter to you if you are ignored by people of power, influence, and wealth? The poor wise man was not called upon by the powerful king. Can you be overlooked in order to love others? To love someone, we must commit ourselves to do small things, things that are not noticed or appreciated, and we must do them repeatedly, for a long time.
- Our culture tells us that we must always be busy, be on the move, always a foot on the next rung up. What does God tell us? Are you willing to be bored in the place that God has you? Do you appreciate the beauty of where you are at right now? Adam longed for more than the Garden. You, too, are given a place to be, things to do, and people to love. These are the things that glorify God.
Mr. Eswine ended by reminding us, “Your great hope is not in being remembered. Your hope is found in knowing that the Lord remembers you.” This is the Lord Jesus who prayed for you, you are already desired by God. Your identity is established before you even walk out the door.
These notes were taken from Zach Eswine’s talk, “A Fool’s Story: From Simple-ism to Hope”. You can listen to this here. If you feel that you are in a season of foolishness, please let someone pray with you. Contact me if you would like some resources.