If you search for the difference between wisdom and knowledge, you will find millions of results ranging from the profound to the over the top sarcastic. But there is a significant difference and it impacts the influence you can have in other’s lives.
Proverbs is often considered the book of wisdom and it BEGINS with knowledge. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov 1:7a) As we learn things, we grow in knowledge, but as we experience them, we grow in wisdom. While it’s possible to “experience” things from afar and gain wisdom from observing what others experience, there are some amounts of wisdom that cannot be gained by any other means than by personal experience.
Every experience we go through in life gives us the chance to gain wisdom if we let it. And some experiences are allowed into our life for nothing more than the gain of that wisdom. But what is the point of gaining that wisdom… the experience that it took to gain the wisdom has now passed… what value is the wisdom now? This is where the true value of wisdom really shines.
Just like many of the results on wisdom and knowledge are well known and easily recited, there is another common phrase that is easily glossed over if not examined. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
What you know can come from the gain of knowledge, but how much you care is often determined by your experiences (that led to your wisdom). As we go through life, gaining wisdom, we also gain a certain perspective on life that others without that wisdom cannot fathom. A great example of this for me personally is that of adopting kids from the foster care system. No matter what you say, simply being a parent does not give you wisdom in this arena. Even having adopted doesn’t do it either. Not until you have adopted a foster kid can you possible have the wisdom necessary to show someone how much you care about their plight in that situation. Until you have experienced it, anything you can offer is merely academic.
Paul talks of suffering in this manner. Just because Paul (as Saul) used to persecute Christians does not mean he has wisdom about the subject. Not until he suffered that persecution himself could he gain the wisdom necessary to have compassion for others in the same boat. Not until he had that wisdom could his words of advice and encouragement mean so much to so many across Asia.
“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” (2 Cor 1:8-11)
Paul’s credibility grew exponentially through the wisdom he gains from personal experiences of suffering. Likewise, he connects it back to the point that Christ had to suffer on the cross so that any amount of suffering we endure is but a shadow of the suffering Christ faced. But through our suffering, we can better connect to the price He had to pay for our salvation. And through our suffering, we can better empathize with others, giving them words of wisdom from our experience.
Never let an experience go to waste. Gain the wisdom necessary, through the pain, so that you can show someone else how much you care… then they may care how much you know.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button in the top right corner AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.