Sitting in Seattle this morning. Heading to the warehouse shortly to begin my work day. It's been my job for many years now...the buying and selling of goods. By profession you could say I’m a merchant! I understand the flow of commerce, of goods and service. Yet, I’m always learning and developing. The better the exchange and value to the client, the better the yield. So, when I come to this passage in Proverbs, I’m gripped. I stop short with its charge: “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23).
The idea of exchange is exciting. I gain knowledge and give it away. Yet, I’m reminded of school days: of cramming for a test, just-in-time learning, and as soon as the answer is written down, the knowledge goes with it. My nephew is preparing to take the SAT and ACT to gain entry to college. How can any of us remember all those the facts and processes? I shudder to think of my score if I took the test today.
So, ironically, today I’m working in a capacity of exchange that has been my job for 16 years now. And yet, I’m still paying for variable costs that could have been avoided if I had managed the product and logistics more efficiently. When will I learn? When will I buy wisdom, discipline and understanding? When will I own it and allow it to own me?
Thanks to my work as a chair with Convene, I’m reading a thought-provoking and comprehensive business-planning book, Business Model Generation by Osterwalder. Again, I’m always learning. I study to learn and grow so I can avoid pitfalls in business. I study, as well, to help others in my circles to avoid the same patterns. I want to own those ideas so I buy them with my time, study and practice.
I’m young enough to have many miles ahead but more in my rearview mirror...
What wisdom, discipline and understanding do I own? What have I purchased along the way? What wisdom do I need to keep and not sell in a transactional exchange, but see it become woven into the character of my life?
Even today, in the commerce of day, let me buy so I need to keep...and hold on to it...so I may become a man of wisdom, discipline and understanding.