Where is the Life we lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we lost in information?
The poet who penned these words at the beginning of the 20th century had no concept of the information explosion that would mark the end of the century. Were he alive today, he would be amazed that his words had a prophetic as well as contemporary relevance. We live, or so we are told, in the information age. Data, facts, and information bytes have never been so available and so readily accessed. A few key strokes on Google can result in hundreds of thousands of web sites, all with varying, and sometimes contradictory, information for you.
Information is not to be despised. It is the stuff of which decisions are made. But there is a danger that, as the poet has said, in the blizzard of information which descends upon us, we have lost wisdom. The abundance of information has given us a false sense of security, a sense that we have all the facts and that is all we need. The rapidity with which information comes pouring into our computers, deluging us with trivia as well as the vital, has conditioned us to expect immediate answers and solutions. Drowning in a sea of information, we mistakenly think our little life raft is afloat and moving with accuracy toward our goals. We have little patience for the pathway which wisdom forces us to tread. She will not be attained casually.
The Wise Man of Proverbs would remind us that wisdom is costly: it comes by a knowledge, not of facts, but of God (Prov 2:6). James reminds us of the wisdom that is from above (James 3:17-18) and its precious character. Time and again the future princes who will guide the nation are urged to seek wisdom (Proverbs).
We are reminded that wisdom is needed for evangelism (Matt 10:16); it is needed to lead the people of God, shepherding and caring for them (1Kings 3:7-9). Wisdom is needed to build for God (1Cor 3:10), and to deal with difficulties in assemblies (1 Cor 6:5). We are to walk in wisdom (Col 4:5), teach with wisdom (Col 1:28), and seek wisdom in our trials (James 1:5). There is no facet of Christian testimony that is divorced from the need for wisdom.
This precious commodity was the longing of Job in his poetic ode (Job 28). The conclusion to his masterful discourse is, "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom" (28:28). But what does the fear of the Lord mean? Rather than slavish dread, it means a desire, above all else, not to grieve the heart of God; it means to long to please Him. The believer who sets her life on the course of pleasing God as the great priority has begun on the path to wisdom.