Thursday, May 24, 2007

Smart or Wise?

Recently I was in a social gathering where intelligence was highly regarded. Much of the conversation revolved around who was the smartest, who had the highest GPA in high school and college, who had attended what university, and so forth. By the end of the conversation the “less smart” people were apologizing for their supposed lack of intelligence and their community college attendance. (Those who hadn’t been to college at all didn’t dare speak up.) The sad part was that this was a Christian gathering, where, of all places, everyone should feel welcome and valued, regardless of IQ or education. Being “insane smart” shouldn’t even make the brag list.

I thought of I Corinthians 1:26-31, which says,

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God." (The Message)

Now there’s nothing wrong with intelligence or education. In fact, getting a good education is important for lots of reasons. I’m married to a very smart guy, and I’ll be pleased if my kids are smart. But it’s not the most important thing. You can be as smart as can be, but lack wisdom. You can have all the education in the world, and no common sense. I know some people whom most people would consider ignorant who have great wisdom and good sense. While I believe intelligence and education are some of God’s good gifts, I’d far rather have God’s kind of right thinking, the wisdom He promises to give if we just ask, with a heart of humility and love.

I Corinthians 13:2 says,

“If I…know all mysteries and all knowledge…but do not have love, I am nothing.” (NASB)

It’s good to know that God loves and values us all equally, whether we’re “the brightest and best” or whether we come from humble circumstances, whether we are smart or dumb, whether we’re well educated or not. It’s good to know that He loved the world, not just the smart people of the world. It’s good to know that He came to earth to be raised in a simple, common family, just like many of us. It’s good to know that when he looks at us, He’s not looking at our IQs, but our souls.

No comments: