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Friday, September 3, 2010

Leaky faucets or springs of life?

 2 Knowledge flows like spring water from the wise;
   fools are leaky faucets, dripping nonsense. 
(Proverbs 15:2)

A man or woman of wisdom allows the knowledge that is accumulated as the years pass to be used in ways that are helpful and healing in the lives of others. His words are like "spring water" - pure, gentle, free of harshness or bitterness.  There is a refreshing that is found in the words of one who is wise.  Their words bring the necessary revitalizing to the parched places of our soul and spirit.  

There is a tendency to use words and knowledge for our own advantage, but the wise man has learned to channel them for not only his own good, but for others, as well.  It is easy to come across some truth, tuck it away as totally awesome for our own benefit - it is quite another thing to proactively look for ways to make the lives of others better by sharing what we have learned.  I know that when I learn a little nuance about a piece of software we use at work, I like to share it because it may make somebody else's work easier.  Sometimes I discover things and don't really pay attention to sharing what I have discovered.  Later, I find that a peer has struggled with a labor intensive process, only to find that I had the "key" to making that process easier, quicker, and perhaps less "intense" for them, but did not share it!  

I am not saying that we should become "fountains of knowledge" just spilling out all over the place with whatever knowledge we possess.  There are times when it is very appropriate to share what we have learned.  For example, we have decided that we will hold a monthly meeting at work to share each other what we have learned in the display of our data, how to use specific features within the software we work with, and to discuss what kinds of issues we are seeing emerging that month.  This forum affords all to be on the same level, knowing that we may walk away with a new tidbit we can use later on.  This works well for our purposes.

Within relationship, things are different.  We must "sense" when it is a time to share and a time to remain silent.  The writer reminds us that a fool is like a "leaky faucet".  I have an issue with a washer in the kitchen faucet right now and it is almost to the level that I will break-down and fix it.  It is not constantly dripping, but when I turn it on, water "leaks" out from where it should not, causing a build up of minerals in that area.  It makes the faucet less attractive.  That is how it is when we share what someone is not really open to receiving.  Just as the water seeping from the base of the handle serves no purpose in helping me wash the dishes, so words spoken in the wrong season serve very little purpose in the relationship.  In fact, they can inflame the relationship, forming hard callouses that make it difficult to get past.

Our writer reminds us that a fool uses his words without thought.  A fool has a tendency to waste his words, just like a leaky faucet wastes water.  So, we can choose to be leaky faucets or springs of life.  I know I have done my share of "leaking" words - sometimes in a very well-meaning way, other times with a little bit of a selfish focus.  In learning comes insight.  Insight brings revelation of truth.  It is natural to want to share what we have had revealed to us - but we need to become skilled in how, when, and where we share it.  Our relationships will benefit from our learning to use the wisdom God has given in the right time, the right season.