Crouching Wisdom, Hidden Insight

Jun 20, 2023 | Articles, by Luke Walker, Marrow Ministries Free Content

The title of the 2000 motion picture Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a translation of a Chinese idiom that “describes a place or situation that is full of unnoticed masters.”[1] Keeping one’s skills hidden is a classic aspect of Kung Fu lore. In legend, the person no one suspects is the one who ought to be regarded most.

In the realm of wisdom, there was a real legend named King Solomon. It is written that “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men” (1 Kings 4:29–31).

Pretty sharp cat. “He also spoke 3,000 proverbs” (1 Kings 4:32). Here’s one of them:

Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding,

but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools.

This is a knotty saying, but we can make one statement with certainty: biblical wisdom is at rest. She is tranquil in a wise heart, like calm water on a still morning. Wisdom in a man’s heart quiets his worries and anxieties like Christ calmed the winds and the waves, bringing deep stillness.

The wise man is not anxious to say everything he knows. He prefers gaining knowledge over flaunting it. Click To Tweet

The wise man is not anxious to say everything he knows. He prefers gaining knowledge over flaunting it. “A fool,” on the other hand, “takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Proverbs 18:2). We’ve all met a Mr. Know-It-All. But the wisdom Solomon has in mind wants to increase, not impress. “The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin” (Proverbs 10:8). It has self-control: “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” (Proverbs 29:11). He is cool about it: “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:76).

Jesus embodied this all the years of his young life. Until he was called into ministry, he lived quietly as an ordinary man. He worked with his father, Joseph as a carpenter. He did chores around the house, hung out with friends, and attended synagogue every Sabbath (imagine sitting next to God in church without knowing it). He did not, however, feel the need to share everything he knew with everyone he met. He asked questions of the teachers; he did not try to take over the class. He wished to learn and grow, which he did: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

From this resting tranquility, wisdom springs into action like a liquid sword, forming itself to the needs of the moment. As one Master put it, “Be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”[2] Wisdom conforms to what is needed when it is needed. When obstacles arise, it is “like water making its way through cracks.” It advises us: “Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.”

When the time for silence is ended, wisdom governs how we speak. The Proverbs are jeweled with wise sayings about how to talk (12:18; 15:1, 4; 16:21; 25:15). When we come to open our mouths for “a word fitly spoken,” let knowledge and understanding ride forth conquering and to conquer. After all, “the lips of the wise spread knowledge” (Proverbs 15:7). Let us speak what we know when the occasion calls for it. Let us do so with boldness, love, and tact. This is how to wield wisdom. As one who hailed from the Oaxaca Parish Convent of the Immaculate Heart Sisters Lady Mountains of Guadalupe has said, “Only then will God bless you in battle.”


[2] Bruce Lee.

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