Sunday, 4 May 2014

The Getting Of Wisdom [Teeth]


I have been greatly exercised in the matter of wisdom these past few weeks. Quick dental update; following the visit to the very helpful emergency dentist on Good Friday, the antibiotics worked, the infection was dealt with and things are almost back to normal. But eating hurts and takes ages. I cut everything up very  small so I do not have to move my jaw too much!

Fortunately the pain subsides soon after meals, and the occasional painkiller deals with it. I visited my own dental practice, where they said I was doing all the right things, and the dentist would see me immediately if pain became continuous and unbearable. But that I shouldn’t expect to get my first hospital appointment this side of Christmas. [That’ll be Turkey Mince on Dec 25th then!] On the plus side, I am not eating sweets or snacking, so that must be good!

Wisdom teeth are so called because they arrive later in life than all other teeth, usually between 17 and 25 [I am clearly a late developer then] and come at a time when one is supposedly ‘older and wiser’. All round the world they are called wisdom teeth, in different languages. That’s apart from Korea where they are called sa-rang-nee or 'love teeth’ [referring to the young age and the pain of the first love] Did you know that almost 100% of Mexicans get all their wisdom teeth- but that their appearance is virtually zero among the Tasmanian Aborigines [it’s a genetic thing, apparently]


But wisdom itself – that’s a different matter. The word crops up all over the Bible. Proverbs 4 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”

Psalm 111 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding”

And of course, King Solomon asked God for wisdom that he might rule his people well – and his name has become a byword for this quality..

In the New Testament, we read a lot about wise people. “There came wise men from the east, asking ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews?’” Jesus told parables, about a wise man who built his house upon a rock, and about five wise virgins, who made sure they had adequate oil for their lamps.

tomatoWisdom is such an important thing to possess, and it is not the same as knowledge. You have heard the quote “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit – wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad” How about this one…“Knowledge is realising it is a one-way street – but wisdom is looking both ways anyway”

When I was a student I was going through a difficult patch and I telephoned home to pour out my woes. My parents were supportive, and I knew they would pray for me. A few days later I got a note from Dad in the post. It just said “Refer continually to James 1;5” So I looked it up, and read these words

jas 1 5

Sometimes it is hard for us to find the right words in a situation – maybe we have some knowledge about the situation, but we need the wisdom to say the most helpful thing. Either to a friend in distress, or a young person who has messed up in some way – or to someone who is asking sincere and deep questions about the awful things we have seen in the news this past week. We must not rush to give glib, facile answers.

willowtreequestIt is not easy to understand these things – but we can always ask God for His wisdom and strength, and know He gives generously, and will guide and help us. May God give you all the wisdom you need this week!

[these two Willow Tree figures are ‘Wisdom’ and ‘Quest’  aren’t they lovely?]


  1. What a lovely reflective post and a very touching one. You and your wisdom tooth are clearly developing well.

  2. Good luck with the teeth!

  3. Lovely reflection and so true though I should point out that you get tomatoes in fruit salad in Bali!!!!


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!