Generalist or Expert

Generalist or Expert

As seen in the  "The Heartbeat" and published in the Hot Springs Village Voice

During my last deployment to the Middle East, I had a conversation with a Colonel that bears sharing.  We were longtime friends, so when he said, "Doug, you’re just a Warrant Officer" I didn’t take offense.  I responded, "I’ll take that as a compliment!"  He inquired about my positive response.

I said, "Colonel, you’re an Infantry branch Officer.  You bounce around serving in many different positions from operations to supply, from intelligence to personal and even in public affairs.  You have also served in varying levels of leadership in different size organizations.  At the end of all of this, you’ll know a little bit about everything, thereby becoming a generalist.  Your next rank is a General Officer."  He was locked into my explanation at this point.

I continued, "Sir, I’m a Chief Warrant Officer in the Intelligence branch.  I stay in my field my entire career and with over two decades of experience, I’ve become the subject matter expert in all things intelligence.  When you are briefing as a generalist in a big conference, I’ll be standing at the back wall as the expert in intelligence ready to help you with the questions you can’t answer!"  He smiled and said, "Point well taken, Chief."

We can compare a general officer to a person who is very wise in a great deal of matters.  But the question is do they have a full understanding of them?  One would have to conclude no, or they would not need large staffs to assist them with decisions.

Solomon was called the wisest man to ever live.  People sought him out for guidance in disputes and other matters in daily living.  He must have displayed a great deal of common sense.  But here is my question (and I know you’re saying finally!):  Is wisdom better than knowledge or understanding?

Would a Warrant Officer in my example above be considered wise or having understanding?  Of course, it’s the latter.  To understand a subject, one must have in-depth knowledge.  A person with no formal education can be wise, but their in-depth understanding of specific matters may be inadequate.

Should we strive to be wise about spiritual matters or should be desire an in-depth knowledge about them?  We can recite the 66 books of the Bible in order, but do we have knowledge or understanding of their contents?

Two verses give us a roadmap to understanding God, and the first step is wisdom.  Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."  James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

We don’t have to take the first step on our own.  Ask God to give you wisdom.  With it, you can develop a better knowledge of Him, and His goal for us is to understand Him and the desires of His heart for us!  This week, let us begin asking for His wisdom in us.

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