Rene Coty, a president of France in the last century, once said, “It’s taken me all my life to understand that it is not necessary to understand everything.”
Nowadays, there is so much that can be known about almost everything. Universi- ties are churning out research, the internet puts at our fingertips more informa- tion than can be absorbed in a dozen lifetimes, and the frontiers of knowledge are expanding rapidly. We must be in the time of the end of which Daniel spoke ,where many would run to and fro and knowledge would be increased.
How do we keep up? We can’t, and, as Rene Coty realized, it is not necessary. Solomon in his day said, “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” In our times we are overwhelmed, forcing us to make choices by the sheer volume of knowledge available.
We have only so many hours in a day. How do we choose where to put our focus and efforts? Hyrum Smith suggests, “New knowledge is of little value if it doesn’t change us, make us better individuals, and help us to be more productive, happy, and useful.” We might add to this list the desire to become more godly and useful in doing the will of our heavenly Father.
God has a plan for mankind, and the reward for those who serve Him is eternal life, a rescue from the death we all face. The most important issue of life is to understand what we need to know to be chosen by God for this salvation, and this information is contained in the pages of our Bibles. We should put our efforts into knowing what really matters, and resolve to work at understanding the saving gospel message. The Bible may be the best-sold book year after year, but it is also the most neglected book on the shelves of most people who own one.
We are constantly amazed at how contestants on quiz programs such as Jeopardy can know so much about so many topics such as Greek mythology, Shakespeare, modern art, and pop culture and yet miss so many basic questions in a category about the Bible. What good will all this knowledge do for gaining salvation for anyone? Absolutely nothing. So much irrelevant knowledge acts like weeds in people’s minds, filling up the space and squeezing out any godly thoughts. As the French president Coty discovered, it is not necessary to understand everything, and making the attempt can keep our minds from meditating on the issues of life that really matter.
Sadly, we read in the Bible that ignorance of God’s message is no excuse. Paul tells us that most people are without hope and without God in the world because they are separate from Christ and have no part in the promises God has made, about which they know nothing. Surely none of us want to be in this precarious position. It is a matter of life and death to understand the important truths that God has revealed to us in the pages of our Bible. We must be willing to open
our Bibles and open our minds to the simple gospel message. And we must be willing to act on it.
Solomon tells us not to even bother to pray unless we open our Bibles and read the important things written there. He uses different words, but that is the les- son we learn from Proverbs 28:9 which says, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”
We read in the gospels, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” The message of salvation is hidden from those who think that they know a lot and who spend their time seeking the wisdom of this world. To which group do we belong — the wise and prudent, or those with a childlike eagerness who look for salvation in the pages of the Bible?
We surely do not know everything, but let us be sure that we know those things that are able to make us wise unto salvation.
Robert J. Lloyd