“There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity.
There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity.
There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.”
― Bernard of Clairvaux
“Mom, I realized what’s causing your allergies to act up every time you go outside,” my daughter excitedly told me. Yes, for the past month or so, my yearly, seasonal allergies have kept me either inside or, when that’s not possible (and let’s face it, that’s really not possible), they have kept me suffering hours on end. It turns out she had learned about something in science class, realized they are on the trees all around our house, flicked one to “test it out,” and yes, saw first-hand the pollen that went flying everywhere.
Although I won’t be able to rip out our trees, or the neighbors’, or the baseball or soccer fields’, it was so nice to know that no, I’m not imagining things: there are certain places that the moment I step foot there, I become (literally) a mess.
I was reminded of the above quote, one that has been a favorite for the past 20 years, and one I have prayed often: that I may seek and grow in knowledge in order to serve, thus love, both the Lord and those around me.
My daughter’s knowledge from science class was used to serve (thus love) me by informing me what to watch out for.
The knowledge we gain, whether in school or in life’s experiences, allow us to serve (thus love) others by relating to them, understanding them, and even empathizing with them.
The knowledge we gain from the Word of God enables us to serve and love God as we worship Him in spirit and truth, live as He commands us to live, and serve others in all humility, loving them as unto the Lord.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5) The goal of this “command,” whether to urge people not to teach false doctrines (as was being discussed), or as some speculate, the Gospel message in general, is love. For truly, there is no greater command than to love God and love people.
Whatever knowledge we are currently attaining, whether in school, on the job, or especially from the studying of God’s Word, let’s remember that the knowledge itself is not the end goal, but rather is just the vehicle to help us reach the end goal: to serve and to love – both God and others. Let’s make sure we don’t stop at mere curiosity, that we don’t seek that which is simply vanity, but that we move on to maturity: through knowledge, serving. And by serving, loving.