Hi. My name is Andrew and I am a recovering know-it-all. I’d like to think I have been in recovery all my life, but sometimes I am not sure. For a while during my teen years I was sure that my mom meant this as a term of endearment I heard it so much. But somewhere along the line I learned that being a know-it-all was not quite the same as having wisdom. I guess I had always thought that there was value to being the smartest guy in the room and so I sought out knowledge at a voracious rate. There was even a time in my pre-teen years where I read encyclopedias for the fun of it (this was before the internet folks). But as I matured, I came to see that knowledge in and of itself could be used more as a weapon than as a tool. I learned that sometimes being right came at the expense of someone else being wronged.
I came across a quote last night that struck me in a new way. One of our church’s district superintendents was quoting one of our general superintendents and posted this, “We (Christians) are notorious for making a point, but not a difference. (Borrowed from Dr. David Busic)”. Ouch. But how often has this been true? We have the moral knowledge and capabilities of defending our point only for that to be the only substance that there is. In his letter to the church at Colosse, the apostle Paul had this to say in regards to our message. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” – Colossians 4:5-6 I wonder if our conversations with those outside the church are characterized by grace. I wonder if we are truly making the most of every opportunity our just trying to be right.
The one thing that a recovering know-it-all has to do above all else is listen. This is a hard skill for someone who already has the answers. But one thing I have found in the midst of listening to people is that sometimes I actually don’t have all the answers. Sometimes I have to extend grace to someone because I have never experienced what they have experienced. Sometimes making the most of every opportunity doesn’t mean that I rush in with some Divine appointed answer, but that I am willing to enter into relationship with them to someone show them the way God would treat them. The illustration of salt in regards to these opportunities is key as well. What if our conversations were dynamic, flavorful, interesteing, captivating and full of grace? Do you think then that perhaps we might be better known for making a difference than a point? I for one would rather be known for these opportunities that go unwasted than for one who simply is a know-it-all.