We encounter all kinds of "thinkers" in this world. Some are "deep thinkers", always into the "heavier" matters of life, mulling over the greater or harder philosophical questions and "weightier" matters. Others may be a little bit of the "dreamers", constantly thinking about how things "could be" if we just did this or that. Still others are kind of down to earth and pretty "practical" in their thinking, but may get labeled as a little too "dull" by the dreamer and a little too simplistic for the deep thinker. Does it really matter what kind of a "thinker" you really are? If you get down to it, you will soon see the advantages the "practical" thinker has over the dreamer or deeper thinker. The practical thinker tends to be able to see a little bit of a bigger picture, but isn't so caught up in the thinking they cannot put into action what they are thinking about!
Intelligent people think about what needs to be done here and now. Fools are always dreaming about faraway places. (Proverbs 17:24 ERV)
Here and now kind of thinking may be criticized by some - feeling we limit our creativity by not "thinking big" or "dreaming a little". It is possible to be very "here and now" and still have dreams, or desire to settle tougher questions in your mind and heart. It is just that the here and now kind of thinker is willing to use the knowledge they have today to work out the issues of today while preparing for the probably issues of tomorrow. Although we never know what tomorrow's issues may be, we can count on some being pretty consistent - like the need for food, water, and shelter. The practical thinker - one grounded in the here and now - isn't forgetting the needs of tomorrow, or the greater lessons to be learned in today - they are just committed to making the most of today, letting tomorrow take care of itself, and trusting God with both!
I saw a cute little "minion" cartoon on Facebook this morning. The caption read: "I think I need a time out. Send me to the beach and don't let me come back until my attitude changes." Now, we all have had days where we wanted to escape whatever was right there in front of us and this type of "beach therapy" would actually appeal to us. What this message really says is that we all need "down time" to recapture some of our ability to "think on the right stuff". If we are truthful, most of our "attitude adjustment" in life is really a matter of changing the way we think - reordering our thoughts, worrying less, relying more, etc. We find we move from thinking about this one thing so much to just letting our minds drift a little into something entirely different and we get "refreshed".
So, "faraway places" thinking may be a good thing, but keeping our minds on the "in the future" kind of stuff for way too long will either get us too depressed when we realize it isn't becoming a reality soon enough, or we will get way too distracted by all the day-dreaming and never get things done in the present moment. There is a fine balance between "far away" thinking and the practical. We need both. In essence, our passage is reminding us of the importance of wisdom - gaining understanding, but knowing how to use it in an appropriate manner within the appropriate timing. Yet, there is a sensitivity to the creativity of "faraway thinking" and the moments of "deep, contemplative" exploration. As a general rule of thumb, either of the latter two will be just too limiting for us, but when we balance them out, we find we gain understanding, turning it into practical steps we take today to accomplish the mission before us, while preparing our hearts and minds for the mission which may open up to us in the future.
The deep thinker has his attention "too focused". The "faraway thinker" has his attention too freely distracted. Notice I said his attention was "freely distracted". He willingly engages in distraction. The wise will reign in their minds when they begin to wander too far, or too frequently, recognizing the needs of today will not be addressed if we are gazing too far into the future! This kind of "faraway thinking" can bring ruin to relationship, because there is no investment in the "here and now". Relationships need both the here and now kind of commitment and action, but they need a little bit of the "dreamer" in all of us. To get caught up in the "dreaming" about the relationship usually makes us discontent with the present. This may not always be a bad thing if the "present" isn't what it should be - we might just need to spend some time working on it. If the present is neglected because we are too busy dreaming about how things "could be" or "should have been", then we run the danger of seeking relationship elsewhere.
The way we think matters. The way we respond to our thinking matters more! Just thinkin!