From time to time my blog will include excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer waiting for a publisher especially when someone somewhere may need to read them today.
A Little Knowledge – Very Little Wisdom
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Those who possess a little knowledge often do not have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge. You’re probably thinking to yourself, I just poured myself a cup of tea, sat down in my chair beside the fireplace to read this [blog] book and it starts like this! If this “little knowledge, not enough knowledge” brain twisting statement is a sample of the writing style throughout this [blog] book, it is better suited for kindling. Please don’t toss it in the fireplace. I know the beginning was a little wordy but it’s a great way to say, if we rely on the skills and knowledge we have, combine them with our record of past success we can end up losing the ability to spot our shortcomings.
“[Jesus] When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11 (NIV)
Times don’t change much. Back in Jesus’ day, people with a little knowledge assumed they deserved places of honour. They perceived themselves as skilled, smart and successful. They took pride in what they thought was their own greatness, jumping to the conclusion that they were better than those around them.
There’s nothing wrong with being knowledgeable. It is human nature to seek knowledge to try to better grasp the world around us. The problem is human knowledge often becomes a substitute for wisdom. Wisdom helps us to apply our knowledge, recognizing that the knowledge we have is incomplete, limited and possibly flawed. Wisdom seeks to know the limitations of who we are and what we know so that our little knowledge does not become a dangerous thing. Paul says in Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought to, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” It boils down to this: Jesus said to be humble enough to take the lowest position. Paul said to be wise enough to know your limitations…
A Little Knowledge – A lot of People
Businesses, charities, sporting teams and other organizations that require the interaction and input of multiple people to function, find out how dangerous “a little knowledge” can be. Ideas and information aren’t hard to come by. Combine quality research with information from “how-to” books and ideas tossed around a boardroom or sectional meeting, tweak them, polish them and marry them into a strategy and you will create a way to move forward. Combining a little knowledge from a lot of people and sources should lead to a winning strategy. So how come with all the information out there on successful organizations and with all the “how-to” books available, are there still failures?
A little knowledge is still a little knowledge no matter how many people contribute to the process. No matter how many ideas are represented in the concept, no matter how many books and research papers are included in your creation, there is no guarantee that you have enough knowledge…The difference between those who succeed and those who at best get by, is one thing, wisdom. Wisdom tells us that we don’t know enough to know that we don’t know enough. Wisdom begs us to ask the question, what’s missing, what haven’t I thought of? Wisdom recognizes that the glitz and glamour of an idea often blinds us to the dull and boring mechanics needed to support it…
The skills of the players and the plans of a coach, the dream of a humanitarian and the funds of philanthropists, the design of a product and the marketing of a great team, all bring knowledge, skills and resources to the table. All bring a little knowledge, but it isn’t enough. Wisdom tells us to seek out knowledge in every area so we can build our venture from the ground up. Wisdom directs us to seek more input, not to say we have it all figured out and not to assume we are more knowledgeable than others. Humility allows us to accept a lower place, avoid seeking position and crave productivity. Humility allows us to put wisdom into practice…
In our current state as flawed beings we are prone to seek our own solutions based on our own knowledge and understanding. Our limited and dangerous thought process often leads us to believe we know what we are talking about… Humility allows us to admit to ourselves that we need God to supply knowledge and open our eyes so we can understand the direction He has for us. This is the way to live as a truly wise person.
Note: this post has been edited from the original book to better suit the blog format