Knowledge Isn’t Enough
Last Friday, a man was arrested at the Frankfurt airport for attempting to smuggle tropical animals. While on his way to Barcelona his suitcase was X-rayed and they found 55 tortoises, 30 arboreal alligator lizards, 4 horned vipers and 1 spiny-tailed iguana. Apparently these
were all in the same suitcase. I have many questions about this story but the first one has to be, “What was this guy thinking?”
Our world is filled with examples of people who don’t exercise much wisdom. Sometimes it’s obvious with people committing foolish acts of violence or vandalism. Other times we see it in the way people treat their friends and family, neglecting and mistreating the very people who are there to support them. When we look at the political and economic situation in the world today we often have to wonder what leaders are thinking when they take action or fail to take action.
Making wise decisions has nothing to do with intelligence. Over the years I have pastored lots of smart and well educated people but it didn’t stop many of them from making poor decisions. They were not lacking in access to information or ability to critically think about their situation. However, they did lack wisdom.
Simply put, wisdom is about the application of knowledge, how we use the information we have. Never before in history has our accumulated knowledge been greater. Sitting at our computer, tablet or even with our smart phone we have almost unlimited access to any sort of information we want. But this abundance of information and knowledge has not necessarily led to wisdom, that’s a different skill.
There is a whole section of the Bible known as wisdom literature – Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. That should tell us something about its importance. Proverbs is most direct in telling us of our need for wisdom as opposed to just having knowledge. Over and over the writer encourages us to ‘get wisdom.’ And where do we get wisdom? “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” (Proverbs 2:6-7)
I have to admit that I’m someone who doesn’t always know what to do with the information I have. When I face a troubling or complex problem I am often overwhelmed with data and at a loss as to how to solve the issue. James tells us that, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) I like that verse because I need to be reminded of it on an almost daily basis. I am not smart enough to figure things out on my own. I need God’s insight and the wisdom that he freely offers. What about you, are you taking advantage of his generous offer?