The Care and Feeding of the Heart: “The Information – Knowledge – Wisdom – Time GAP”
Welcome to the Training Table where you can depend on some spiritually-nourishing vittles cooked up to help you run the Godly and good race! For of what lasting good is the good race, if it’s not a Godly race?
I wonder if when asked by anyone—a stranger, dearest friend, or next-of-kin—“Really and truly, what’s mankind’s life… what’s YOUR life… all about?”
How many of us would have the information, the knowledge, the wisdom, and the time well-spent to respond along the lines of, “What is the chief end of man… of my own life? Man’s chief end—and MY OWN life by faith—is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever!”
This concise conclusion of a universal and personal conviction of one’s being and doing provides us a snapshot of one’s character that is incontrovertible—a foundation for eternity and a platform for one’s everyday life.
We all ought to be able to articulate a reason for being and doing like this. Why? It’s how God designed mankind… You and me alike.
Today, the ascending order of information, knowledge, wisdom, and time well-spent appears to be in a constant state of assault… or completely non-existent.
I’m afraid that each of these aspects of a well-ordered, robustly-lived life has been thrown into total disarray:
Information? RE: “Overloaded”, “unprioritized”, “Google-ized”, “TMI-ed” [Too Much Information… too intimate, inappropriate, and insensitive].
Knowledge? RE: “Relativized” [no True Truth, all individual perception], “science-tized” [false claims of veracity assigned to ‘science’], “untrustworthy” [skepticism, cynicism, sarcasm, and bitterness abounds], “prostituted” [knowledge is hustled, seduced, and desecrated for ill-gotten gain].
Wisdom & Time? In Ephesians 5, Paul invokes the biblical concept of wisdom: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15–17)
The King James Version translates verses 15–16 as, “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as those who are wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Living wisely (or circumspectly) is to a great degree a matter of how we spend our time. But there’s more…
What this treatment of “time-stewardship wisdom” leaves out is what can be described as “trial-tested wisdom” or “Godly knowledge in the refiner’s fire” that produces “trial-tempered wisdom”: When the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD meets with redemptive suffering it produces a most valuable and other-worldly fruit called WISDOM (James 1:2-8) or GOOD (Romans 8:28).
James uses the word wisdom in a way not used in any other part of the bible: It applies the person, knowledge, truth, and love of God to our SUFFERING in such a way that we can “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” (v2).
How can anyone count it all joy [Are you crazy?] when suffering of any sort befalls him or her? Because people of faith apply their time- and trial-tested wisdom to the circumstances of suffering and God will reveal its numerous and manifold redemptive gifts! [Namely, conformation: or becoming more like Jesus.]
This form of “sanctified-knowledge-transformed-into-wisdom” is unique—especially in an age such as ours whereby most any form of DIS-comfort is avoided like the plague:
No Redemptive Suffering = No Wisdom…
But Plenty of Foolishness to Go Around!
Wisdom of this sort—accrued to our sanctification, maturity, holiness, and Christ- likeness—is scant, and yet… and yet… don’t miss this: It is the mechanism that drives the very best stewardship of our time, talent, and treasure.
Going back in time:
“The Information – Knowledge – Wisdom – Time GAP”
A while back, our family was just ending a very rich and wonderful time touring select cities and sites closely associated with our nation’s origins and the many people mainly responsible for it. We had skipped across Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Gettysburg, the Amish Country, Jamestown, Lancaster, Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Monticello, the Potomac, Valley Forge, WashingtonDC, and many more.
One such historic wonder that caught my attention along the way was Benjamin Franklin’s publication, “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, written between 1733 and 1758. Franklin became famous for being a scientist, an inventor, a statesman, a printer, a philosopher, a musician, and an economist.
“Poor Richard’s Almanac” always consisted of a Preface, or introductory section about some local matter, occurrence or personality, as well as a sizeable list of “Maxims”: A condensed proposition of important practical truth; axioms of practical wisdom; an adage; a proverb; or an aphorism of some witty, ironic, or a very serious sort.
Words of ascending information, knowledge, wisdom, and time well-spent!
Franklin’s stated objective in publishing “Poor Richard’s Almanac” was “the lively dissemination of unalterable truths and useful information“.
Living in an Age of Relativism and Information Overload?
Mind the GAP!
How would you define the words, “unalterable truths” and “useful information”—in that order? Franklin’s definition of “unalterable truths and useful information” might have been something along the lines of, “an unchangeable or universal principle of life, coupled with practical and sound advice for daily living”.
In a span of 25 years, Franklin penned no fewer than 1,000 “maxims for living” in Poor Richard’s Almanac alone! Many, many of these timeless truths and life applications have become part of our everyday axioms for living, useful colloquialisms, and mannerisms of speech.
As much as we might pretend that “timeless truths” no longer exist or can be applied to our day’s definition of “pragmatic, utilitarian, or useful living”, Franklin’s maxims live on and offer all an unimaginable wealth of information, knowledge and wisdom—surely a laudable and productive use of one’s time.
And yet, here we are in the age of, “No-Truth-But-My-Truth & Information Overload”.
Today we find ourselves with no moorings of True Truth and completely engulfed and drowning in an endless sea of information which actually threatens to enable many, many people to just fritter their supposedly meaningless lives away.
In reality, lives of inestimable worth and value and meaning…
John Naisbitt in his very popular book, “Megatrends”, said, “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” [Hence, Feast of the Heart]
And, I would add, logically-speaking if we are starved for knowledge, we are a bag of bones in the realms of wisdom—E.g., knowledge refined by faith in and love for God applied to life’s unavoidable trials.
Have you ever seen the “emaciated corpse” of a friend, family member, or co-worker who had starved nearly to death while staring into a computer or TV screen too long, or for the wrong reasons? I know this is a big subject but I would like to offer up some observations about what’s going on here:
>The Information – Knowledge GAP: What might be the implications of having a god-zillion-fold access to information and yet so many people having become more private, compartmentalized, and simplistic than ever before? Perhaps information is not “humanized”; knowledge is unrealized; and humans are starving for trusting, learning and growing relationships?
>The Knowledge – Wisdom GAP: Is it possible that the data-rich, intelligentsia of the business, financial, entertainment, and educational elite have more prestige and an influential voice than the people who have the greatest amount of experience—or wisdom—in any of these areas? Can you guess what at least two younger generations response to know-how knowledge, “age-old truths” and “wisdom” is these daze? “Whatever… ” That’s a heartbreaker…
>The Wisdom – Time GAP: Have you ever noticed that the perception of time’s passing at an ever-faster pace appears to be directly proportionate to the quality use of our time? Have you experienced spending time wisely, in community, rarely leaves you with the sense of having wasted your time? On the contrary, the Godly and wise use of our time is always the most fulfilling time there is!
While you’re chewing on these GAP observations, allow me to leave you with some of my personal Franklin favorites from “Poor Richard’s Almanac”. Please wrestle with the language; savor the timeless truths therein; and feast on them like your hungry heart deserves:
“But, dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff that life is made of.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are and rotten like the worms, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“If you’d be belov’d, make yourself amiable.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“You ask who is strong? He that can conquer his bad Habits. And who is rich? He that rejoices in his Portion.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“Take this remark from Richard poor and lame: Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“Ah, simple man! When a boy two precious jewels were given thee: Time and good advice: One thou has lost and the other thrown away.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“You can bear your own faults and why not a fault in your wife?” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“He that best understands the world, least likes it.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“The noblest question in the world is, ‘What good may I do in it?’” (PRA, B. Franklin)
“If you would reap praise you must sow the seeds: Gentle words and useful deeds.” (PRA, B. Franklin)
As we are celebrating the birthday and the statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln today, I’m reminded of his ilk: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and many others. I believe it is indeed most worthy to consider NOT just the patriotic emulation Godly men of this sort deserve, but of philosophic contemplation they contributed as well.
I ardently wish for every guest at The Training Table the best and wisest use of your time; an undaunted zeal for knowledge and learning that is acquired for the service, encouragement and benefit of others; and, like that of Benjamin Franklin and most of his contemporaries, due respect for the originator and benefactor of all life and wisdom, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses!
Thank you for feasting with us today. I respectfully hope the content acts as a catalyst to continually challenge you to come to terms with your existing philosophical, personal and / or business presuppositions as means of remembering, revitalizing, rejoining, and renewing in your life!
It is the vision and desire of Feast of the Heart, “To help bring about Christ-centered reformation [biblical doctrine], revival [Christian living in word and deed], and constructive revolution [the spread of the gospel where we’re planted by God] so that God will be glorified and people blessed.”
The Wounded Spirit, by Tim Keller