I’m Too Smart to Be Loving!

1 Corinthians 13:2

Think your thoughts in love.

I’ve been teaching college English for almost thirty years. In that role, I’ve dealt with thousands of students and gotten to know a large gaggle of very brainy people. One of the things that I’ve noticed along the way is that many students point to some high-school teacher as their inspiration. “Why,” I ask myself, “do they look those mere secondary teachers rather than to their professors, colleagues of mine who have lot of letters after their names?”

There’s an old saying that people “don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s an old saying because it contains a good measure of truth. How can my student value Mrs. Winklestein from the math department at Shawnee Mission Somewhere over my calculus-slaying colleague, Professor Brainiac? It’s easy.

This same thing plays out in my ministry to kids. As I sit and watch our small group leaders with their kids gathered around, we don’t see the children gravitating toward the people who could win a trivia-night contest. The kids don’t care how much we know, but they care immensely–and they can tell immediately–if we genuinely love them.

Just a few week ago, one particularly challenging boy shouted, “You hate me!” He was just saying it to get a rise out of me, but it cut me to the quick. Call me stupid, if you like, but please don’t call me a hater. Hopefully I won’t earn the title.

  • Do you ever let your knowledge in any area of life get ahead of your love in that area? What effect does that bring about?
  • Can you think of a situation in which you would want to deal with someone who is knowledgeable and unloving?
  • Ask God to show you the plays where your knowledge or expertise outstrips your love and to fix that imbalance.