“Beware you be not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”
I read this quote by John Wesley a few days ago, and admittedly, the first thing I thought was: Hm, so in that case, love is 16 times the worth of knowledge. (I chuckled to myself then… I have no shame in my love for science-y jokes). But aside from its technicalities, it struck me deeper than that as I thought a bit more on showing love versus showing knowledge. It’s interesting to me how Wesley equates a ton of knowledge with being “swallowed up” — is he saying that growing in knowledge suffocates us? Now, clearly he’s not speaking on necessary academic knowledge or common sense needed to succeed at daily ambitions. I really get the sense that he means the type of knowledge that leads to unsavory pride.
Have you ever met a person who has to be right above everything? No matter what, the person will not accept that sometimes, the most important thing is to lovingly listen, rather than to be right. For a lot of situations in life, people will not be swayed by knowledge. It’s love that really turns the tide. In Proverbs 13:10, it says, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Okay, let’s be honest here. It is incredibly difficult to take advice – the unsolicited kind. But friends, I have to say that even my stubbornness quickly fades when I’m offered advice that comes from a place of love, rather than a place of prideful knowledge. It’s here where I realize that this quote works both ways: if I try to relate with someone on a know-it-all level, like Proverbs says, it’ll cause strife. And in the same way, if I retort with an I’ve-got-all-the-necessary-knowledge-I-need-to-know-on-this-topic kind of attitude (with a side of some rolled eyes, for effect) to family or friends who’ve been building me up in love, it’d be safe to say that those conversations may not end on the best note. I think of times when I’ve felt that I had to be right in certain situations, and truthfully, is IS a feeling of being swallowed up! It’s so easy to get sucked into a vicious cycle of proving that you’re right no matter what the other person responds with. These are the times when “an ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.”
When just a little bit of gracious love will calm quarrels.
When just a smidgen of love will help engage family and friends in meaningful conversations rather than push them away.
When just a helping of love will expose sincerity and tear down barriers dividing two sides.
Love versus knowledge. Which is greater? Which is better?
And yet I will show you the most excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:31b)