Many like to think of us as a Christian or Judeo-Chrisitian nation. But even the most religious and patriotic among us tend to cherry pick the parts of the Bible we think we should emulate. Every time I hear someone proclaim, "We are the greatest nation in the world" or now "We are the world's superpower" I cringe. Not because I am unpatriotic but because I read my bible.
Today's first reading opens:
Rely not on your wealth;
say not: “I have the power.”
Rely not on your strength.
It then goes on to explain in great detail what happens to those who do. Since this book of the Bible is about wisdom, it is safe to say that what is being described is the path of the fool.
The minute we begin to rely on our wealth or power, and talk about it as something of our creation rather than gift from God we are in trouble. Can we be proud of our accomplishments? Certainly, as long as at every single moment we are recognizing that the intelligence, the talent, the strength used to accomplish it is all gift from God.
From the moment we wake up, and draw that first conscious breath in the morning each new day is a gift from God. My life is from God. My only real power is from God. My strength is day is God.
Then we are on the road to wisdom.