A few days ago I had an interesting contrast of conversations, highlighting the fact that knowledge and wisdom are not necessarily the same thing.
An elderly man of 70 I found myself talking to last week at a motorcycle shop was regaling me with stories of his riding days, laced with profanities, until in the conversation I happened to mention being a Christ-follower. Suddenly his tone changed, and he proceeded to lecture me on how he took a class under this Yale professor, or read that book by noted professor so-and-so, and has concluded he disagrees with much of Paul’s writings in the New Testament, and how all religions teach pretty much the same things. After letting him prattle on, I merely stated that I am of the conviction that “all Scripture is inspired by God”, and that Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” In his eyes, that labeled me a “fundamentalist”, and he was “way past that, intellectually.” He proudly declared, “If you are stuck there, I sympathize. Many are. When you are ready for higher knowledge, read those professors I told you about. You’ll be enlightened as I am.” The more he talked, the more he just belittled me, talked down to me, until I finally excused myself and left.
Riding back home, God reminded me of the passage in 1Corinthians 8:1, where Paul states, “knowledge puffs up.”
Not 30 minutes after arriving home, I got a call from a dear old friend, Doug Jenkins, also 70. He had felt prompted of God to give me a call, and for the next 20 minutes shared Scripture with me, told me how much he loved me and my family, and encouraged me to keep pursuing God’s plan for my life. “God’s not done with you yet, Rob. He has greater things in store for you.” Doug has never studied under Yale professors, never been a student of the writings of certain Harvard professors, but when we concluded the phone call, I felt refreshed by his wisdom, compassion, humility, and love.
This morning, I read this passage in James 3:17- “But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”
Knowledge can breed arrogance. Wisdom breeds humility.