Gifts of wisdom gone to waste

I’ve been reading John Owen’s A Discourse of Spiritual Gifts. (.pdf link) Came across this nugget with a warning for those who would presume themselves to have the gift of wisdom, and yet speak like fools.

How much wisdom is gone to waste in the church because those who may otherwise have it neglect to pursue the virtues which must attend it for it to be useful?

  1. Let them who design a participation of this gift, take heed it be not stifled with such vicious habits of mind as are expressly contrary unto it, and destructive of it: such are self-fulness, or confidence, hastiness of spirit, promptness to speak, and slowness to hear, which are the great means which make many abound in their own sense and folly; to be wise in their own conceits, and contemptible in the judgment of all that are truly so. Ability of speech in time and season, is an especial gift of God, and that eminently with respect unto the spiritual things of the gospel. But a profluency of speech venting itself on all occasions, and on no occasions, making men open their mouths wide, when indeed they should shut them, and open their ears; and to pour out all that they know, and what they do not know, making them angry if they are not heard, and impatient if they are contradicted, is an unconquerable fortification against all true spiritual wisdom.
  2. Let those who would be sharers herein, follow after those gifts and graces which do accompany it, promote it, and are inseparable from it. Such are humility, meekness, patience, constancy, with boldness and confidence in profession, without which we shall be fools in every trial. Wisdom indeed is none of all these, but it is that which cannot be without them, nor will it thrive in any mind that is not cultivated by them. And he who thinks it is not worth his pains and travail, nor that it will quit cost to seek after this spiritual wisdom, by a constant watchfulness against the opposite vices mentioned, and attendance to those concomitant duties and graces, must be content to go without it. This is the first instance given by our apostle of the spiritual gifts of the primitive times ; to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom.

Thought it was a useful read.