I was remembering a funny thing I saw on a television show years ago. One man was talking about going to his homeland that was very far from the United States. Another of his friends asked, “Do you know how far that is from here?” To which a third man answered, “Four-thousand, seven hundred, fifty-three miles.” Both of the first two men looked at the third man with a sense of awe, and asked how he knew that. The third man simply replied, “You mean I’m right???” Sometimes we get information, just to impress others, when the reality is that that information is basically useless and results in no actual benefit for our walk with Christ. As a believer, you have a responsibility to be constantly growing and becoming more and more like Jesus. If you are not careful, much learning can make you useless.
The writer of Proverbs says it so simply, yet powerfully. “Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). I love that last little phrase … “Oh yes, and while you are gaining all that wisdom, don’t forget to pick up some understanding along the way.” I have found that some of the smartest people I have met in my life had the least amount of actual “book-learning.” I am not in the least putting down a good education. I believe we should get all the information possible in our lives today. One of the big problems I see in our society is that after a certain age, we feel that we can now coast, and we do not need to continue to learn. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and I am not advocating ignorance today.
Having said that, I believe we do need a great deal more of “understanding” today. We have some incredibly “wise” people, but we are really lacking in good old fashioned understanding. Please continue to pursue knowledge and facts and details, but don’t forget in all that pursuing to remember to learn as well how to apply what you are learning to real-life situations. When a person is sitting in a hospital room having just received a bad report from a doctor, they will not need to know how many gallons of water pass over Niagara Falls in an hour (sorry, just picked out a random thing). They also will not necessarily need every verse you have memorized quoted “at” them at that point. They will need someone with compassion and a working knowledge of Scripture to speak to their heart. With all your getting, get understanding today.
“Have an understanding so you don’t have a misunderstanding.” – C. Blair