At the risk of dredging up deeply submerged memories, imagine you are chosen captain of your gym class basketball team and are given the task of selecting a winning starting line-up. Now imagine that you have in front of you: 1) your best friend, smiling securely in confidence that he or she will be chosen first; 2) the school bully, glaring at you threateningly; and 3) several classmates who are loudly and unashamedly shouting out their qualifications in hopes of being chosen early in the process. No one wants to be last. On what basis would you select your team?
But wait! There is one more person in the class who you almost overlooked because he or she is not demanding attention or begging to be chosen. Instead, this person is quietly shooting baskets at the other end of the gym. Swish after swish after swish.
Now who would you choose first?
Our world is full of loud voices demanding that we buy particular products, vote for certain candidates, and attend to ever-multiplying media inputs. Sometimes I think there is an inverse relationship between the volume of a message and its worthiness. Wisdom is quiet, for it is secure in its worth, while foolishness tends to compensate in volume for what it lacks in substance.
What do you think? How do you judge the worthiness of a message? Can you find true wisdom in all the noise?
“There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, ‘Wisdom is better than strength.’ But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. The quite words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” King Solomon’s wise observation recorded in Ecclesiastes 9:14-17