“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit)
My youngest daughter likes to hide.
Whenever I get home after a long day, I usually have the task of looking around the house for her to find her covered up in a basket in the corner of our living room. It’s usually so obvious that anyone can really find her. Just look for the giggling blanket.
As my children get older, they like to hide as well. But it’s usually not for the same reason. They usually are just trying to be sneaky, hiding something from me or my wife because they know its not something they should be looking at or playing.
I usually find them too. And in that moment of exposure, I can see the shame, the guilt they feel for hiding something they know they should’ve been honest about.
I long to communicate to my children that they need not hide from me. Even if they’ve done something to be ashamed of and feel guilty about. I hope they know that it is in the finding that there is freedom. There grace can be found. And discovery and wonder can begin again.
From Knowing to Hiding
We humans have a knack for growing our knowledge. We build massive libraries, spend hours on the internet, watch countless YouTube videos, and read dozens of real life and fiction stories. We push our teachers to create assembly line students who can regurgitate all the right test scores. We teach our young to gamble their entire future on getting a college education that costs more than they’ll ever make in their first five years on the work force. In all this, we aim for knowledge, because, after all, knowledge is power.
But as we gain more and more knowledge of the world, often times we think that the answer to our soul’s deepest longings is more education. We think that if we simply know more, then this will be the answer to our life’s problems, our world’s tragedies.
And like the young boy who stumbles into a world of pornography accidentally surfing the internet, we realize that our endless curiosity for knowledge often takes us into a world we didn’t intend to learn about.
The smarter we are, the more we hide.
The Need for a Filter
So what’s my point?
I drink coffee everyday. In my coffee maker is a filter. The hot water pours over the coffee grounds, through a filter so that there are not little black grounds floating around in my coffee. Not too many people I know like to have little grounds in their coffee. We want the flavor, the good stuff, without all the extra.
Today I want to propose that there is a filter that we can utilize to help us glean only the good stuff from all of the knowledge that we are exposed to everyday.
Knowledge itself is not bad. Ignorance is definitely a disease of the mind. We need to know more. But what we need more than “smarts” is something more intangible but no less important.
We need wisdom.
I want to offer up four reasons for seeking wisdom over and above knowledge. So here we go. .
- Wisdom helps us to know right from wrong.
Perhaps the greatest problem with humanity is our inability to distinguish right from wrong. We believe that our knowledge and experience is enough to teach us how to make the best choices. And we are right, to a point. But wisdom goes a step further and teaches us how to discern the motivation behind the choices that we make. Wisdom reminds us that it is not only the mind that matters, but the heart as well.
- Wisdom teaches us how to create a better future.
To move into the future, we need knowledge for sure. But wisdom teaches us how to use the knowledge we have, to create something good with our lives. Wisdom gives us the proper lenses through which to see the world that could be rather than only the world that is. Wisdom gives us permission to dream of a better world and how we can get there. Wisdom also teaches us that this world is not all there is. Putting all our “eggs” in the basket of the now is unwise in the light of eternity.
- Wisdom gives us influence with more people. One of the most rewarding aspects of wisdom is it’s ability to put us into the right places with the right people. Not only will wisdom guide you into the right relationships, it will bring an awareness to people of the kind of person you are. If you are wise, then your life will not be self-serving but rather self-sacrificing. And when you give yourself away for the good of people, you gain influence with them. This is not a power-play though. True wisdom will not seek out it’s own satisfaction. Using your knowledge to discern right from wrong and to create a better future, will also gain you influence with more people who can affect the change you seek to make.
- Wisdom is the gateway to Divine Knowledge. There is a knowledge that we can know that is not of this world. It is the Knowledge of God. And while this may seem mystical and “out there”… I believe that knowing the heart and mind of God is what matters more in this world than anything else. To know is to be intimately acquainted with. To know the heart and mind of God is to be connected to the Greater Story that moves beyond your existence here on earth. Tapping in to the Divine Knowledge of God will allow you to leave a legacy of wisdom to those who follow after you. Passing on wisdom is the goal of a life well lived.
When you make wisdom your goal, and not merely knowledge, the doors to a life well lived will open up for you.
Solomon, the wisest person who ever lived said this about wisdom.
“Yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.”
The book of Proverbs is one of the oldest books in the world. You can find it right in the middle of your Bible, next to the Psalms. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs. There are 30-31 days in each month.
Take a chapter a day for the next month and begin reading through the Proverbs. You will find yourself growing not only in knowledge, but also in understanding of the mind and heart of God.