Knowledge is a gift that we are to exercise stewardship over. The Bible is filled with examples of how God doled out knowledge throughout the ages in the form of, for example, personal revelation and inspiration. These people, whom God blessed with knowledge, shared that knowledge with others. The best example of this is 1st John 5:13, “These things have I WRITTEN unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” How can one KNOW they have eternal life? Someone told them how to obtain eternal life and in turn they now have the promise of Heaven once they pass away.
Salvation comes from knowledge passed on from person to person, and is made possible by the intervening of the Holy Spirit. But the one key element is the person being told the gospel…that is…having someone take the knowledge they possess regarding salvation and then sharing it with that other person. Look at Romans 10:13-15: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a PREACHER? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that PREACH the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.”
Romans 10:17 goes on to say that faith comes ultimately by hearing the word of God from either a human preacher sharing knowledge, or in some cases, it comes directly from God in the form of revelation as you read His Word. In any case, some entity is giving you the knowledge. The wisest thing to do is to take that knowledge and wisely apply it. Don’t hear a sermon on salvation and take in all that knowledge and not act upon it, for that would be unwise. Instead, take the knowledge that was imparted to you, and make the wise choice of being saved according to Scriptures such as Romans 10:9-10…among many others.
Like money and many other “controversial” things, knowledge is neutral but can be used for both good and bad. The problem is that sometimes there are many factors that influence our use of that knowledge. We can be selfish and use it for personal gain. We can be virtuous and use knowledge to the betterment of others. A marriage is a good case in point here. When two people have been together for a long period of time, they each know the other’s vulnerabilities and which buttons to push to get a reaction out of the other. If we are feeling pretty contentious, and feel our spouse has wronged us, we may choose to utilize that knowledge and get back at our spouse by attacking their vulnerable area while pushing their buttons. We KNOW what we want and how to get it, but knowledge used in the pursuit of selfish desires to hurt the other person is the wrong use. In contrast to that is the use of the knowledge we have about our spouse to help build them up and recognize their weaknesses and focus on making them stronger. It just depends on our motivation. That’s what will guide and direct our use or misuse of knowledge.
So before utilizing your knowledge base, ask yourself what frame of reference you are utilizing to accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish. Think about what happened to Adam and Eve. They were armed with the knowledge that they had many trees to eat from and one they had to leave alone. The KNEW this. God told them directly. Then the devil came in and added misinformation to their knowledge base so that when Eve was ready to make a selfish decision, she chose wrongly and so did Adam. They, and the rest of the human race that followed, have been suffering the consequences of that wrong choice born out of selfishness and misinformation.
Another thing you can do to be a good steward of the knowledge you possess is to think outside the box. Challenge everything you hear, see, or are told. Don’t share knowledge with others that you are not sure about. Especially don’t pass along knowledge you’ve only heard but never verified. I did that once and looked stupid. I once heard that Rhode Island had the most coastline of any state in the country. A preacher at a men’s conference was milling about and somehow I got on the subject of Rhode Island and proceeded to tell him that Rhode Island had the most coastline of any state in the US. I was immediately met with disbelief from Rhode Island friends attending the conference with me. I argued that I was right (after all I had heard it…so I knew it…). At lunchtime I tried every which way possible to find that documented anywhere online, but not even a Google® search validated my claims. How silly I must have looked. But again, I acted on misinformation that I did not check out first.
I should have done what those in the Book of Acts did who “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, WHETHER THOSE THINGS WERE SO” (Acts 17:11). See, it’s bad enough to be misinformed and make your own poor decisions and suffer the consequences, but be very careful not to spread misinformation to others, as they could make wrong choices and suffer consequences as a direct result of what you told them. Obviously they have a responsibility to test all knowledge they receive, but we are the ones who can stop the bad knowledge before it even reaches another person’s ears.
This is why we need a worldview through which all knowledge can be filtered to see if it is in line with our worldview, or antithetical to our worldview. That is, does what we learn and teach others fit our belief system or does it contradict it? This is why we should have our worldview shaped by the principles and precepts of the Bible. Because if we believe the Bible to contain truth, and what we hear and learn is in line with the Bible, then we know that knowledge is true and safe to act upon and pass along. On the contrary though, if what we learn doesn’t fit, we can believe it to be misinformation and we should promptly dismiss it and never teach that error to another.
My last point is that knowledge moves things forward…not backward. Society is in need of forward thinkers who have a knowledge base and are willing to implement ideas and make progress in areas such as science, medicine, astronomy, etc. The Founding Fathers in Colonial days put their heads together and came up with a very unique governing body. Maybe it was based on the triune God, I don’t know (so don’t share that…I said I don’t know), but this government was comprised of three separate but equal branches and between these three branches, was set up a system of checks and balances to ensure that there was a balance of power between that three branches that was equal. As broken as we may believe it is, that governmental system is still in use to day in the United States.
Without those men being forward thinkers and maybe using the knowledge and revelation God allowed them to have at that moment in history, our country may have floundered and died shortly after its birth. They used their minds and the knowledge contained therein and created a vision…and the country flourished. Vice-versa to that is the notion that without a vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Based on knowledge and perhaps some Divine Revelation, these Founding Fathers moved a nation forward. That should teach us that even though we want to be careful not to spread misinformation, we also have a responsibility to utilize our knowledge to enhance what exists in the world today or create systems within society that have never been done before in order that we, as a people, may move forward and grow and not remain static and stagnant.
I leave you with this final thought about knowledge and the stewardship thereof. A Lebanese-American poet by the name of Khalil Gibran said this: “A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than knowledge that is idle.” In other words…don’t keep what you know to yourself. That’s not being a good steward. That’s like the servant who took his talent and buried it and didn’t get any return on his master’s money which he was entrusted with. No, knowledge is worth more when it leaves the storehouse of our minds and gets planted within the fertile soil of a child’s mind in Sunday school, or the fertile heart of a person ready for salvation. We can’t be stewards of knowledge and sit back idle while the world wallows in ignorance…they’ll perish…