“Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul” – Proverbs 2:9-10
If life is a journey, wisdom is your sherpa. We often use navigation terms to describe how we daily might live an optimum (or abundant) life. We use phrases like “finding our way”, “going through a rough patch”, “moving forward”, “choppy waters”, and “it’s all downhill.” That’s because each day what you’re doing feels similar to a pioneer, picking his way through an unfamiliar, wild lands. Other people have been over the same terrain before you, and you may have had teachers and mentors who have attempted to draw maps for you, but nothing compares to charting your own way forward.
A sherpa is an invaluable trained expert who helps climbers ascend Himalayan mountain summits, especially Everest. Sherpa means “eastern people,” but the word has taken on additional meanings. For anyone seeking to climb a high mountain, but especially for novice tourists, a sherpa is not merely an asset, but a necessity. Sherpas know the safest paths, and the surest ground. They will warn you as you approach a dangerous pass, carry your luggage, and help you pace yourself.
Wisdom is like a sherpa that God makes available to us through his Word. But you must spend time to know and consult with this Sherpa. This is where the analogy of the sherpa folds into other descriptions of wisdom. The first step towards wisdom is that you have to want wisdom. You must know and confess that you need direction from somewhere else – that left to your own resources, you actually won’t travel down the best pathways. You will get lost; you’ll encounter dangers; you’ll run into dead ends. Wisdom saves you these pains if you prioritize receiving and following God’s appointed guide.
The challenge of this life is that it’s actually not intuitive. Wisdom can make the best pathways seem more intuitive and natural, but all of us are born with an aversity to wisdom. We have to seek it. It comes from God’s hand, and opens our eyes to see clear trails where before we saw wilderness and overgrowth.
One of the most compelling attributes of wisdom is that it’s design is to make life good. There are a lot of pathways that may appear easy, or scenic, or fun, but wisdom knows how to pick out the ones that make the duration of the journey the most positive overall. That’s why the more you listen to and follow wisdom, the more pleasant she becomes. It feels good to recognize and track in the paths of wisdom, because you know her as a faithful guide. You’ve learned to trust the results that the sherpa wisdom will deliver over the course of your entire journey, day after day, year after year. The more closely and consistently you follow your sherpa wisdom, the more you learn to think like her. You will see, recognize, and delight in the best paths with greater ease. You may even turn around someday, and see others following in your path.