We worship intelligence.
The average person will gladly receive the labels of dishonest or cruel rather than stupid or simple. I suspect that our culture even deems it a compliment to be called shrewd or crafty—even if those words have negative connotations.
Of course, by intelligent, we refer to someone who is quick of thought, rather than someone who’s thoughtful. That’s too bad. By limiting intelligence to such narrow parameters we fail to appreciate other gifts of the mind.
A speedboat is very fast and will win races, but it only skims the surface of the water. It takes a submarine or submersible to unlock the mysteries of the deep. Even so, a fast thinker is not necessarily a deep thinker. In fact, he probably races past the insights and wisdom that a more perceptive and reflective thinker will easily grasp.
A speedboat is very fast but it only carries one person. A luxury liner carries thousands. Even so, a quick mind too often only thinks of itself. A thoughtful and sensitive mind bears the concerns and ponders the welfare of many others.
A speed boat has only one limited purpose—to go fast and win a race. That’s hardly practical. A freighter can carry cargo, livestock, oil, ore, goods, and thousands of other things. Its versatility and usefulness are immense. Even many of the cheap, easy-to-produce, and slow Liberty Ships of WWII are still in service more than 70 years—and thousands of storms—after they were constructed! Speedboats barely have a fraction of this lifespan. Even so, there are minds that bear heavy loads and have the capacity to survive trauma and hardship.
So what’s my point? First, intelligence encompasses far more than the speed of the mind. It includes all those dimensions that make us distinctively human: compassion, creativity, and perception for the divine. Second, everyone’s mind and intelligence are God-given and useful. No one should ever devalue or waste them. Consider God’s own testimony to the creative genius and limitless potential of the human mind in Genesis 11:6: “Nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.” Don’t waste or neglect that great gift God has given you between your ears. Use it for humankind’s good and God’s glory.
Dear Father in heaven, help me to see the potential for goodness and greatness that you have instilled in me and help me to use all of my being to bless others and honor You. Amen.