“Measure twice, cut once.”
When I was a kid we renovated the attic on Marion Street into what would be a bedroom for me on one side and a guest bedroom/ storage area on the other. The house was an old one, with a complicated roof line, which meant A LOT of angles when it came time to do the molding. I remember him using a coping saw and miter box, his head and hair dripping with sweat, forehead veins and colorful language during every spare moment of what seemed like the entire 5th grade.
Dad got better at it as we went on, and I vividly recall him saying “measure twice, cut once” in a way that seemed as much to himself as a lesson to me. The good sense of that advice seemed obvious as it resulted in fewer trips to Rusty’s hardware store and a lot less sweat and language. Eventually, this phrase became part of every project or repair that involved using a tape measure and knife, scissors or saw. I still say it to myself, 40+ years later.
If you’d asked 11-year-old me at the end of my 5th grade year in Mrs. Deceasar’s class to define wisdom, I probably would have thought of “measure twice, cut once” and said that maybe it had to do with something that helped. Maybe I’d still define it that way. How would you?
In James 3:17, James, the brother of Jesus, defines the wisdom that comes from heaven as follows:
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
James challenges us to really question what is and isn’t wisdom, so let’s agree that this week we will keep our eyes on this verse so that we can always identify heavenly wisdom.
As we study James 3:13-18 this week, let’s think together about how we define wisdom, its sources, what kind of vessels we are, how wisdom flows from us and finally, how it affects us and those in our lives.
Dear God, help me this week to contemplate heavenly wisdom. Help me to recognize it when I see it around me. Help me to understand the difference between heavenly wisdom and that which is not heavenly wisdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.