The Sapient King
In a kingdom long ago there lived the wisest king that ever was. His fame drove people to come and visit, just to observe this man. He wrote over 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs, had all the riches he desired, and nothing was out of his reach. He taught people through his example in judging difficult cases – like when two mothers were arguing over one baby. He built houses and planted vineyards, gardens, and parks with aqueducts and pools to water the trees. He employed skilled musicians and was surrounded by beautiful women.
As his life progressed a growing realization gnawed at his soul: without God, everything is vanity under the sun. Being thankful and content with your work, your wife, and fearing your Creator were the key lessons this man learned and penned in Ecclesiastes. Thankfulness is intricately linked with wisdom.
What is Sapient?
I am glad you asked. 🙂 I had never really heard it either until I was researching for this post. It means intelligent, discerning, or wise. In Hebrews 5:14, God gives a definition of discernment.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
A sapient person is able to distinguish good from evil.
Wisdom is more than knowledge that is gained through experience or reasoning – there is nothing worse than a knowledgeable fool! Dozens of passages and Scripture reveal how these three words are related:
- Knowledge is retaining the raw material of information;
- Understanding is the great separator; identifying what is true knowledge, targeting what is false knowledge, and most critical of all, untwisting and separating the true from the false in one lump of information;
- Wisdom is the ability to take good information, filtered by understanding, and to act on that truth at the right time, to the right people, and with the right motivations and manner. Fearing a righteous and loving God who is watching me every moment propels my commitment to act wisely (Proverbs 9:10).
Wisdom Includes Thankfulness
So hang on, I am going somewhere with this. 🙂 If our God puts a heavy emphasis on thankfulness, would we not also be wise in doing so?
Being th(i)nkful is a function of sapience or understanding. That my struggles are a result of God not knowing, or not caring about, or not loving me enough is false knowledge. Th(i)nkfulness celebrates true knowledge – that my struggles are ordained by God uniquely for me in order to bring about many “greater goods,” that He is with me, has given me grace, and has given me so many things around my struggle for which to be thankful.
Out of the 135 references in the Bible for thank, thanked, thanks, thanking, thankful, thankfulness, thanksgiving, thanksgivings, thank-worthy, 67 references came from the Old Testament and 68 from the New Testament.
Thankfulness is a very practical part of wisdom; it is good and right action that is based on discernment of true knowledge, and it scatters benefit in every direction:
- Thankfulness is obedience to God
- Thankfulness is part of worshipping God
- Thankfulness gives credit to God and to others
- Thankfulness honors God’s meticulous providence in every detail of our lives
- Thankfulness uses learning to inspire still more learning
- Thankfulness among nonbelievers is contagious and creates gospel opportunities
- Thankfulness is the fruit of really deep and rich theology
- Thankfulness repels our urges to sin
- Thankfulness pushes us toward seeking forgiveness and reconciliation
- Thankfulness builds inward peace
- Thankfulness blurts out heaven’s perspective when ours is distorted
- Thankfulness fosters mental health by searching for and focusing on the good
- Thankfulness displays faith in God as we fulfill His will for us to give thanks in every circumstance
- Thankfulness trains the brain’s neural pathways to keep looking for things to be thankful for
- Thankfulness creates fresh air, motivating and inspiring others
- Thankfulness is part of good leadership, highlighting the good in our challenges
- Thankfulness sees the silver lining but also focuses on the benefit of clouds, rain, lightning and thunder
There is a pervasive emphasis throughout the scriptures on gratitude. Starting with Leviticus 7:11, where the thanksgiving sacrifice is given as one of the peace/fellowship offerings, and winding throughout the scriptures to Revelations 11:17, where twenty-four elders fall on their faces saying: “ We give thanks to You, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for You have taken your great power and begun to reign.”
The wise king from long ago learned some indispensable lessons.
Am I sapient? Am I discerning about the information, speculations, and meditations passing through my mind? Do I act on the true knowledge I have? Do I celebrate what is true with thankfulness?
Being th(i)nkful is like a bridge that takes you from focusing on self to focusing on all that God is and has done ~