When you hear the word “wise,” what comes to your mind? Maybe you think of King Solomon and his gift of wisdom. Perhaps you think of an ancient philosopher such as Plato or Aristotle. Or possibly you think of someone who has spoken wisdom and truth into your life.
Personally, I think about an elderly woman who attended my church growing up. She was always quiet and slow to speak; however, when she did speak, everyone listened–young and old alike. Her advice was always sound, and her heart was always aimed at pointing people towards the Kingdom. This woman was the embodiment of “wisdom.”
What is Wisdom?
Throughout the Bible, we see different descriptions of and verses about wisdom; but what exactly is wisdom? According to Christian A. Schwarz (2001), founder of Natural Church Development, wisdom “is knowledge applied to real life situations, which is eminently practical” (p. 20).
Wisdom is the polar opposite of dogmatism and abstract ideology. While philosophers and theologians may be wise, they only demonstrate biblical wisdom if the words they can be practically applied to real life.
To use the terminology of the three-color model, wise people are able to integrate all three colors. They understand that they must rely on spiritual power (blue); their wisdom allows them to understand their own limitations and shortcomings, requiring them to rely heavily on the power of God. Additionally, their wisdom leads them to action, which requires commitment and follow-through (red).
Wisdom and Creation
The biblical idea of wisdom is closely connected with creation. In Proverbs 3:19, we read:
By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place. . . (NIV, emphasis added)
Because of this link, when we discuss the Triune God, we use the color green to demonstrate wisdom.
While wisdom has its roots in creation, it is important to remember that wisdom is not merely a gift given to Christians. In the Old Testament, we see the wisdom was international and interreligious (for example, see 1 Kings 4:30). We must remember that there is much that can be learned (e.g., gaining wisdom) outside of the Christian context.
No matter who receives wisdom, we must remember the Source of that wisdom; Proverbs 1:7 makes that clear:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (NIV)
Green Spiritual Gifts
Green spiritual gifts primarily (but not exclusively) relate to God’s revelation of Himself through creation. It is for this reason that many of these gifts can be found outside of the Christian context. However, remember that in order for a gift to be a spiritual gift, it must be used for the good of God’s kingdom.
Let’s take a closer look at these green gifts.
Artistic creativity: This gift can appear in many forms, such as dance, sculpture, pottery, music, composition, writing, etc. While similar to the gift of craftsmanship, this gift focuses more on the creative element. Artistic creativity enables Christians to use artistic expression for the edification of others.
Craftsmanship: The gift of craftsmanship enables Christians to use a trade or craft for the good of the body of Christ. This gift many be demonstrated in a variety of ways, such as gardening, building, car repair, sewing, etc.
Giving: While the Bible calls us to give a tithe, there are individuals who give a significant amount beyond tithe towards the kingdom of God. The gift of giving is demonstrated when Christians give up material things cheerfully and give generously to others.
Hospitality: People with the gift of hospitality are usually happier when they have guests than when they don’t. Those who possess this gift maintain an open home, offer food and lodging to guests, and are able to make people feel instantly “at home.” Many people who have the gift of hospitality also create this “homey” atmosphere outside their homes.
Knowledge: The gift of knowledge allows Christians to generate, collect, and analyze ideas that are important for the health of the church. Interestingly, many (66%) people who have the gift of knowledge also have the gift of teaching.
Mercy: Those who have the gift of mercy meet the needs of others through loving action. This gift enables Christians to demonstrate empathy through practical deeds.
Music: The gift of music does not include composing music or writing lyrics, as those gifts fall under artistic creativity. Instead, those with the gift of music play musical instruments and/or use their voices in song for the glory of God and the edification of others.
Organization: Those who have the gift of organization understand goals for specific areas of ministry and are able to draft effective plans for reaching those goals. People with this gift generally do not guide the ministry into the completion of those goals (that task falls under the gift of leadership).
Voluntary poverty: People with the gift of voluntary poverty intentionally deny themselves material wellbeing so that they can maintain a standard of living that parallels the poor. Many who have this gift also have the gift of giving.
Wisdom: The gift of wisdom enables Christians to help others apply existing knowledge to specific situations. This gift should not be confused with the gift of knowledge, as wisdom deals more with the application of knowledge.
As we have said in our previous blogs on spiritual gifts, don’t be disheartened if you are not gifted in the color green. The Holy Spirit distributes gifts as He sees fit. Our goal should be to come alongside others in community and allow our spiritual gifts to work in tandem together. It is in this way that we exemplify the body of Christ.
When you consider your own spiritual gifts, do you have any that are green? Have you utilized these gifts for God’s kingdom, or for other purposes? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Schwarz, C. A. (2001). The 3 colors of ministry. St. Charles, IL: ChurchSmart Resources.