“My son, do not forget my teaching . . .” – Proverbs 3:1
“A father, being on the point of death, wished to be sure that his sons would give the same attention to his farm as he himself had given it. He called them to his bedside and said, ‘My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards.’ The sons, after his death, took their spades and mattocks and carefully dug over every portion of their land. They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.” – from Aesop’s fables
Knowledge is a good thing. But there is a vast difference between “knowledge” (having the facts) and “wisdom” (applying those facts to life). In other words, we may amass knowledge, but without wisdom, our knowledge is useless. We must learn to “live out” what we know. The father in the fable understood the facts of farming, in particular that vigorous tilling of the soil in the vineyards would produce an abundant harvest, but it was only through his wisdom that he was able to convey this knowledge to his sons in such a way that they in turn would “live it out” and perpetuate his legacy.
“Wise refers to skill in living,” explains Eugene Peterson in his book Earth and Altar. “It does not mean, primarily, the person who knows the right answers to things but one who has developed the right responses (relationships) to persons, to God. The wise understand how the world works; know about patience and love, listening and grace, adoration and beauty; know that other people are awesome creatures to be respected and befriended . . . know that God is an ever present center, a never-diminishing reality, an all encompassing love . . .”
We are often encouraged to be life-long learners, and rightly so. But more importantly we should strive to become life-long seekers of wisdom – in how to “live out” the knowledge we attain with greater understanding and deeper meaning.
“My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards.” (Aesop’s fables) “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life for many years and bring you prosperity,” says the Proverb. Wisdom is that great treasure, but to gain it we must seek it out, and be alert when it appears.