By design, man is a creature that seeks knowledge. When we are captivated by something, we desire to know more about it. What captivates each of us varies greatly, as do the degrees to which each of us pursues the respective knowledge of said captivators. Some of our desires for knowledge manifest as nothing more than a hobby or way to relieve stress. For others of us, our pursuit of knowledge earns us the label of “gifted” in that particular endeavor. Regardless of these details, the fact that we desire knowledge is undeniable:
- At a global level, the desire to answer the most difficult, timeless questions of “Where did we come from?” and “Why are we here?” have fueled countless years of scientific research and philosophical thought.
- At a national level, we’ve been enticed by the potential that modern technology contains, and have been led to create some of the most mind-blowing advances that the world has ever seen.
- And even at a personal level, our individual passions for knowledge can give us the drive to become an Olympic hurdler or an idol in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Our desire to know more, as well as the resulting benefits we obtain from following said desire, are both gifts from God. But like any gift, it must be harnessed and nurtured responsibly. Peter Parker would tell us that “With great power comes great responsibility,” and he would be right on.
Often times, it’s easy to let the fact that we are well-informed about a particular subject change our hearts for the worst. If our egos aren’t contained and our hearts kept in check, we can become highly critical of both ourselves and others, and we can likewise lose the ability to recognize achievement and experience joy in that subject:
- To an observer at the finish line, a marathon runner is a pinnacle of human physical achievement. To that same marathon runner, her own performance may have been deemed sub-standard due to her knowledge of other runners, previous race times, and the resulting unrealistic beliefs about herself that may have been in place because of it.
- A member of a crowd at a concert may be mesmerized by a guitarist’s performance. The experienced musician standing next to him in the crowd, watching the exact same performance, could be at a loss to find anything impressive about the guitarists work due to his own in-depth understanding of the instrument and music.
As followers of Christ, we must strive to remain humble in all walks of life. We must be humble about our gifts in the light of others, and even humble to ourselves. We must remember that the gifts we have been given are nothing more than that. They were given and can just as easily be taken away.
"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride."
- CS Lewis