Did you know that there are a lot of smart, educated people who are not very wise? I used to think that knowledge was power and in a way it is, but what is more valuable; knowledge or wisdom? What good is knowledge without the understanding to apply it to your life?
Random House Dictionary defines knowledge as “acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation” and wisdom is “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.”
Do you see the difference? Wisdom is knowledge coupled with judgment that causes you to action. It is applying the knowledge to your life.
In Matthew 13 Jesus told many parables and when He had finished the first seven:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you understood all these things?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’” (Matthew 13:51)
If you read the first fifty verses of Matthew 13 that was some Sunday school lesson, but Jesus wasn’t finish. He ended class with an eighth, small proverb, one easily missed and one that I did not cover yesterday in our Sunday school class on Matthew 13. Notice verse 52:
“Then He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.’”
To understand the significance of this last parable, we need to go back and understand Jesus’ question in verse 51. Warren Wiersbe writes about verses 51-52:
“When Jesus had completed the series of parables, He asked His disciples if they understood them, and they confidently replied, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Understanding involves responsibility. To explain this, Jesus added a final parable to remind them of their responsibility.”
Who are the scribes? They are us; we Christians…disciples…who sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His teachings. Jesus’ disciples literally did so but today we disciples have His Word. And because we have the Holy Bible it is our responsibility to find the truth but not just discover the truth and do nothing. That would merely be biblical knowledge. Many a lost college comparative religion professor has biblical knowledge.
No, we are to apply these truths to our daily lives, meaning we are to use our biblical wisdom.
The American church has for too long become as the scribes, as Wiersbe describes them:
“Over the years, their noble cause degenerated into a routine task of preserving traditions and man-made interpretations, and adding burdens to the lives of the people (Luke 11:46-52). They were so wrapped up in the past that they ignored the present! Instead of sharing living truth from God’s Word, they merchandised dead doctrines and ‘embalmed’ traditions that could not help the people.”
With biblical wisdom comes the responsibility to live the truths we have discovered. It is one thing to read Jesus’ teaching…
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
…and say, “Why, it sure is hard being a Christian” and it is quite another to ACTUALLY love, bless, do good, and pray for your enemies!
Make a list right now, never mind, pull out your list. You know which one! Your enemies list. Oh, okay, you don’t have one. Right. How about the person(s) who get most of your thought time, the ones you spend the most time talking about, emailing, working against, you know…your enemies.
You got that person(s) in your mind now? When was the last time you loved, blessed, did good, or prayed for that person(s)? I can’t tell you when the last time was for me. I cannot stand what the man in the White House is doing to our nation and the only time I pray for him is that someone will find his actual birth certificate. I know, what an ugly thing to say, but hey I have an ugly heart without Jesus and so do you (no…really…you do!).
It is not enough for me to discover biblical truths and even teach about them; I must LIVE them. And then I must share them.
I must share the Gospel and when I do the responsibility is now on the hearers. The question these hearers must ask themselves is, “What am I going to do with Jesus?” What am I going to do with this greatest story ever told? Am I just going to account it to merely being a great story, or am I going to see the truth and act upon it?
With understanding comes responsibility.
When was the last time you prayed for your enemies?
When was the last time you shared the gospel with someone?
What did you do with the gospel when you heard it?
With understanding comes responsibility.
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Copyright © 2009 David Jeffers