Forget the Labels

14 May

Two taxidermists stopped before a window and immediately began to criticize theOwl way an owl had been mounted.

“It’s eyes aren’t natural,” one said. “Its wings aren’t in proportion to its head.”

“Its feathers aren’t neatly arranged,” the other said, “and its feet could certainly be improved.”

Toward the end of their critique, the old owl turned his head … and winked at them!” *

When I (Dawn) went away to college, my mom gave me an owl picture for my wall … she wanted me to come back “wise as an old owl.” I had a collection of owls after a while. They eventually ended up in my bathroom, until guests told me they felt uncomfortable with all those eyes staring at them!

So I laughed as I read about those taxidermists. Here are some other examples of things that are not as they seem:

  • A firefly is not a fly. It is a beetle.
  • A prairie dog is not a dog. It is a rodent.
  • A banana tree is not a tree. It is an herb.
  • A lead pencil does not contain lead. It contains graphite.
  • A koala bear is not a bear. It is a marsupial.
  • A shooting star is not a star. It is a meteorite.
  • A cucumber is not a vegetable. It is a fruit.
  • A funny bone is not a bone. It is the spot where the ulnar nerve touches the humerus. **  (Humerus … funny bone? LOL!)

TAKE NOTE: Just because we label something, that doesn’t mean it’s accurate. For example, potato chips are crunchy like lettuce and celery, but that doesn’t make potato chips health food, does it?

I think that God sometimes laughs at our silly attempts to label everything. Some people are saying we are in the beginning of another Great Depression. Some in the media try to convince us that everything is just fine; but in our hearts, we know it’s not. The culture is in shambles and the economy is a mess. But for God, America would already be down the tubes.

We try to control our lives, but we’re not really in charge. God is. We can plan and make wise choices to design our lives, but ultimately, God can interrupt our lives at any time.

The smart way to live, as a Christian, is to label things the way God labels them. Some things, God calls wise. Some things, He calls foolish.

Years ago, after I read Proverbs 4:7 ~ “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom…” ~  and realized how valuable wisdom is (Proverbs 8:11, 18-19), I asked God to give me a wise heart, and the first thing He taught me was to seek His perspective.

A wonderful study in the Word of God is to make two lists of the characteristics of wisdom and the characteristics of foolishness ~ and then determine to live a life of wisdom! For example, wisdom will help me build my home (Prov. 9:1; 14:1; 24:3), my friendships (Proverbs 13:20), my ministry (Proverbs 15:2, 7; 16:23), and so much more. And my worldview is greatly affected by my perspective.

God says, “get wisdom,” so … how do you get wisdom?

  • Ask God for it (James 1:5).
  • Seek it early (Proverbs 8:17).
  • Study the Word and keep God’s commands (Deuteronomy 4:6; Psalm 19:7; Psalm 119:98).
  • Heed instruction and listen to warnings (Proverbs 8:33; 9:9).
  • Search out wise, godly counsel (Proverbs 13:20).

Our culture has a lot of labels. Some are accurate; but some are not, because they are based in the foolishness, sinfulness, and selfishness of the world. Determine today to be a WOW ~ Woman of Wisdom … a Woman of the Word!

* adapted from 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking by Michael Hodgin ~ #225, “Criticizing” (Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), p. 98



3 Responses to “Forget the Labels”

  1. revtrev May 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Love the thoughts about labels. Being an gen X I’ve always avoided them for myself. I see the grace of letting others be wrong about me.

  2. Jackie May 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Seek it early (Proverbs 8:17).

    I couldn’t find the verse you intended for this, as Prov. 8:17 doesn’t say anything about seeking Him early.

    • Dawn Wilson May 15, 2011 at 3:02 am #

      Jackie, that verse says (NIV) – 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

      The entire chapter is about wisdom.

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