Wise or Clever? Which one are you?

James 3 13-18

Wise or clever
How many books have you read recently? Were they fiction or factual information books?

If I were to give you a pile of factual books to read would it make you clever or wise?

The reading today is about the difference between being clever and having wisdom.


Is there a difference?



Clever/smart means they know a lot of facts and information.
Wise means you make good decisions or choices. Knowledge means we have it in our head, but wisdom means we know what to do with it.
The brain is the most mysterious part of our body.
Historically people have tried to measure IQ through many means at first they classified people through their behaviour eventually the IQ test was born and is still used today. 


The most intelligent person in the world according to his IQ test is Terence Tao with an amazing score of 230 and he has won a lot of awards for his intelligence. He was only 20 when he received his PhD. 
In research – 50% of people have an IQ of 90 and 110, 2.5 people have an IQ under 70%,  
Only 0.5 have an IQ of 140. 

But does this test show wisdom?

The Hebrews debated this fact and believed that true wisdom was not intellectual.  They believed it was the way you behaved. 
I can’t find out the source of this quote but I think it says it really well – The biggest fool was the one who knew the truth and failed to apply it.  In other words, had all the knowledge but didn’t use it.
I used to say that about my middle son; that he was intelligent but I wouldn’t let him loose in the kitchen for fear he would burn it down.  He was intelligent but at times he had no common sense.
James states that true wisdom and understanding are shown by the way we live our lives. 
Living our lives in gentleness – not by boasting about how wise we are.   A person who boasts about how wise he/she is and believes it, doesn’t listen to another’s point of view, because they know best.
A wise person listens to everyone’s point of view and asks the right questions – they find a way through where everyone feels heard and understood. 
As in King Solomon – where two women lay claim to the same child, he listened then asked the right question to determine who was the rightful mother.  It was the women’s behaviour that led to the right decision being made.  The true mother acted with wisdom and put the child first.  King Solomon acted with true wisdom by listening, understanding, and asking the right question.   He didn’t state I am a wise king therefore you will listen to me. He did it with gentleness. 
I wonder if we act with true wisdom in our personal lives?
I wonder if our church meetings are carried out with true wisdom?
It’s not about the decisions we make but how those decisions are reached.  Do we listen to each other with understanding, or do we just promote our own wants and needs?
The way to making good decisions is a skill that everyone should learn whatever their age.  Teaching children from a young age sets them up with a life skill.  A tool to help them whatever decision they need to make.  Life is full of decision making and as we all know; we are all capable of making unwise decisions. 
This is an ideal opportunity to ask the children to make some decisions about the group especially at the beginning of a term.  What would they like to do?  How can we make it happen?
Teaching them to listen to each other – and to make the decisions together.









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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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