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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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A Word to the Wise

Someone once observed that age and wisdom are supposed to travel together but sometimes age shows up all by itself. If I may say so without sounding too cynical or pessimistic, it would seem that the human race as a whole keeps getting older but not a whole lot wiser. That we are getting smarter no one can successfully deny. Our books and our brains are increasingly stuffed full of secular and empirical data and information. We continue to study and research everything from genetics to the "greenhouse" effect to a cure for the common cold and cancer. We know how to remove cataracts and correct faulty vision with lasic surgery. We know how to transplant hearts and lungs and kidneys. We know how to build planes and trains that speed us from one place to another in a minimum of time and a maximum of convenience and comfort. We know how to build computers to store and retrieve and transmit almost limitless amounts of information. We have transformed the world into a neighborhood by means of communication technologies that are truly global in their reach. Educationally, financially, medically, scientifically and technologically we are smarter than we've ever been before.

But we outsmart ourselves when we leave God out of our learning and thinking. Proverbs 1:7 reminds us that a brain stuffed full of facts does not necessarily equate into wisdom: "The fear of the LORE) is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction." Life can go haywire when people attempt to substitute their own wisdom for God's. In 1999 it was suggested that beautiful models should sell their eggs and that geneticists could cross them with sperm from selected males to produce offspring with superior looks and intelligence. Alexander Dewey of Nashville, Tennessee responded to this suggestion with the following letter to the editor of the Nashville Tennessean (Thursday, 11/18/99): "The hullabaloo about the sale of ova from beautiful models brings to mind a story attributed to the brilliant and rather wildlooking British playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw. One of England's most glamorous actresses approached Shaw and suggested that she have a baby by him. He or she would be a remarkable person, with her looks and his brains. Shaw declined saying that the risk was too great. The child might have his looks and her brains." The risks are too great for us to despise God's wisdom and instruction. We end up making foolish choices and taking foolish actions that harm us and others. Each of us must decide: will we be guided by the wisdom of a foolish world, or by God's word to the wise?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ