Being smart is not a virtue, necessarily. Apart from love it means nothing! Okay, okay, this sounds like something that might fit that old false dichotomy between “head knowledge” and “heart knowledge;” but that’s really not what I want to get at with this post. Instead I am simply going to reflect on what so called “smarts” means before the LORD (and when I say “reflect,” I mean right “off the top”). And one caveat, I am anything but “anti-intellectual,” just in case anyone wants to mis-read me that way 😉 .
What does being smart really mean, anyway? Is someone who has an high IQ, smart? Or if someone has a PhD after their name, does that make them smart? Or maybe if somebody can quote and cross-reference this theologian with that theologian, and then synthesize and assimilate that interaction into their own theo-framework; does that make them smart? You know what, it probably does; but so what. I often think “smarts” are over-rated, not because ‘smarts’ aren’t a gift from God; or because someone could develop a cure for cancer, but because of the stature that a “smart” person is given — simply by virtue of being smart.
What I want to underscore, really, is that “being smart” is not enough for the Christian; being smart is not synonymous with being “spiritually mature,” and I am afraid (in the right circles) that this is exactly the perception amongst some (of course being stupid is no virtue either, fodder for another post). Just because X theologian can out-think Y theologian, does not make X more spiritually astute or mature. And just because Y theologian cannot out-think X theologian does not make her more spiritual. Do you get my point (I’m afraid I’m not really communicating what I want to, oh well 😉 )? Smarts are just that, and they can be driven by love for Christ, and communicated accordingly (for the edification and evangelisation of both the church and the world); or they can be motivated and shaped by an one-upsmanship which seeks to grand-stand itself in triumphalistic overture against everyone else. Either smarts can be used to build people up, or knock people down . . . I would suggest the former.
Ultimately when we each, one of us, stand before the LORD will be accountable for what He has given us in Himself; and how did we use that or this? I cannot imagine that he would really care if you were conversant in the history of theology, or what have you (unless of course you used that to build His body up, and communicated that stuff in His love), but instead that we all handled ourselves in “above approach” life-styles.
Being smart may be a gift, but then again, we have to ask ourselves who says what “smarts” are? Often I hear Christians saying, “oh wow, so and so is so smart, I could never think like that” — you know what I hear (in most cases) when I hear this, that this is a complete cop-out, and just another excuse to not put in the hard think-work that is required to be “smart.” I think any average Christian, properly motivated by love for Christ will seek after Him, grow in the grace and knowledge of Him; at all costs. I think there are many, many un-tapped “smart” Christians, and the body is in need of them! Being smart is not a virtue in and of itself, but knowing Christ is, which I would say is the “smartest” thing anyone could do — and once we have received Christ we need to completely walk in Him, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! Do you think that other guy or gal is smart, but you are not; well what are you waiting for, get off your duff and start the work that will be completed in you when Christ comes — what being smart is, will be shown for what it really is after all — it is not a “what” but a “who.” Amen!