“Is there anyone else left?”
It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? You and I might ask it when we’re leaving a building and it’s our job to turn out the lights, so we turn back at the door and shout out, “Anyone left in here?” Then, when no answer comes, we shut it down, lock the door, and head home. When we ask the question, it’s really done in a spirit of checking things off the list. We’ve done our duty, stayed until the end of this or that thing, and now we want to be done. But before we are, we’ve got to make sure there’s no one left. In fact, if indeed there was a shout back from that room we are closing up, we would respond by telling the person that they don’t have to go home, but they can’t stay here. Because we want to be done. Over. Locked up and closed down.
What is it in the heart of a child that makes her or him long to be watched and to be seen, even while doing something so mundane, something so unspectacular, as reading a book to herself quietly? It’s the same thing that resides in the heart of a grown-up. In the heart of every adult and child resides the longing to be watched and then to be praised, to be known and then to be loved, to be seen and exposed and then to not be rejected. It’s a longing to be approved and favored. It’s a longing to be somebody in the eyes of a greater Somebody. It’s a longing to be secure.
Everyone else in the story seeks their wisdom. But as wise as they are, Jesus is clearly the wisest man the world has ever seen. Up until his coming, Solomon, the author of many of these Proverbs, was. But when Jesus came, he said, “One greater than Solomon is here.” And unlike finding Yoda, you don’t have to travel to a different planet to access his wisdom. He’s promised to be with us by his Spirit. So the wisdom we need is not something unobtainable. It’s part of the deal God made in Christ. When we know Christ, we get wisdom—and anyone willing to repent of their sin and trust Christ can get in on this.
I admire the desire to give God our best. I worry about our insistence on doing great things for God. The question I ask myself more often is this: Am I willing to do small things for God? Is it enough for me to serve him for his sake even if he’s the only one who notices?