First Reading: Wisdom 6:12-16
Wisdom, the Key to Leadership
Resplendent and unfading is wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire;
Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed,
for he shall find her sitting by his gate.
For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil
shall quickly be free from care;
because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her,
and graciously appears to them in the ways,
and meets them with all solicitude.
New American Bible
Every national leader exercises authority with an eye to history. Vanity demands leaders make their mark on the world and leave a legacy. Many kings and presidents have pondered the question: how will future generations judge me?
What is the key to a favorable legacy, as well as a peaceful and profitable rule? The author of the Wisdom of Solomon had his favorite answer: wisdom! In fact he was so enamored with the virtue that he personified it in his writing. The image of wisdom the author painted was that of a young lover, a woman who waited eagerly by the gate to a man's house (so the virtue was easily available), yet aloof enough to only be available to those who sought her. "Lady Wisdom" was no commoner; she was "resplendent and unfading.." Like a classy lover, the virtue was intimate and reliable, a confidant in need. This was a virtue of those groomed for position and power.
The Wisdom of Solomon was written in the so-called "inter-Testamental" period (200 B.C. to 150 A.D.) . Composed by a Greek-speaking Jew (most likely in Alexandria, Egypt), the book was used to instruct young Jewish males in the ways of leadership.
Like the young Jews who heard these words, we, too, should seek wisdom as our guide to leadership. The comfort it brings far outweighs gains from turf battles or displays of ego. When we act wisely, we act for the good of all, not for the self.
Look upon the leadership in your community and church. How is that leadership exercised? With wisdom? How have you exercised leadership? How wise have you been in your dealings with others?