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The Sponge Within

May 13th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 14: 6-8 (NLT)

 6 A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it,
      but knowledge comes easily to those with understanding.

 7 Stay away from fools,
      for you won’t find knowledge on their lips.

 8 The prudent understand where they are going,
      but fools deceive themselves.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

This generation thirsts for knowledge in ways that previous generations never could have.  I use the word “knowledge,” but “information” might be a more accurate description.  Technology and the spawning of mass communication have connected us not only with seemingly perpetual digital vats of information, but also with each other.  The thirst to learn more . . . read something new . . . gain a different perspective  . . . seems to abide upon the lips of our culture.

It looks different than the mental cravings of our ancestors.  Unlike those who sought reason in the libraries of process and scholarship during the Enlightenment of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, we are more prone to seek raw information and we desire it as concisely and neatly packaged as possible.  Hence, we are allotted one-hundred and forty words on our Twitter status.  Nothing wrong with it– it’s just who we are.

But the search for the oasis of wisdom in this desert of modern culture is a different kind of expedition.  Much like the Gold Rush of the 1840’s, many are searching for significance and advancement through knowledge by panning for it in the streams of consciousness that flow across 3G networks and cell phone towers.  Again, nothing wrong with this.  But there can be a vast disappointment with the amount of treasure found when we don’t understand the best places to look for it.

Wisdom can definitely be found in these streams, but we must look upstream to the source before we try to cash it in for the value it appears to have.  In other words, wisdom only comes from the wise.  Makes sense, I suppose.  Apples only come from apple trees.  Traffic citations only come from policemen.  Chicken legs only come from chickens . . . not willingly, mind you. 

Wisdom only comes from those with wisdom.  Hence, this passage comes into play.  “A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge comes easily to those with understanding.”  Notice that the issue isn’t the desire to gain insight; it’s the approach.  The “mocker” obviously approaches the search with a tainted attitude.  When we allow attitudes of entitlement, judgment, or self-centeredness to infiltrate the process, we inadvertently deprive ourselves of the very wisdom we are so desperately searching for.  

We spike the water of wisdom with attitudinal diuretics . . . losing our substance in the process.

Wisdom doesn’t come simply as a result of energy exerted; it comes when we look for it in the right place and with the right attitude.  Humility.  Teachability.  The desire to learn, yet the perspective to understand that we will never know it all.  That’s why this passage goes on to warn us that we “won’t find knowledge” on the lips of foolishness. 

It’s not about information-attained as much as wisdom-absorbed.  Wisdom only takes with those whose hearts and minds are prepared to process it.  Otherwise, it rolls right off just like water over a saturated sponge.  When we are too full of ourselves, there’s no room for wisdom.

I want to be like the prudent man who “understand where he is going.”  I want every tidbit that flies into my brain from the annals of digital information to find an attitude that has room to absorb real wisdom.  It might take a little squeezing first.






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