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Homeschool Direction: A Wisdom Parable

Homeschool Direction: A Wisdom Parable

homeschool_wisdom_studyOnce upon a time there was a village far away in a remote location, which had experienced a hard year of severe weather. A group of missionaries worried that the villagers’ crude huts would not be able to withstand the strong weather any longer.

The missionaries wanted to help by taking supplies to the village, but there were no accessible roads for a car trip and there was no landing field for a plane. The missionaries decided to have a small plane air-drop supplies over the area until they could get there themselves. They sent food and tools (shovels, saws, hammers, screws, screwdrivers, etc.). T he missionaries hoped that the villagers would use the tools to build new homes sturdy enough to resist the rough weather.

It took several months to repair the necessary roads to get to the village. Once the missionaries arrived, they noticed that the villagers had rebuilt the same crude handmade huts. They were surprised to see tools tied on the tops of stakes about eight feet tall in front of each new hut. The tools were badly rusted and had never been used. Instead of working with the tools to build new homes, the villagers worshiped them.

The tools became a status symbol. The villager with the most tools hung over his hut was viewed with awe and admiration. In this parable the tools represent education. Academic subjects studied in school and colleges are tools meant to help a person in life.

Tools are Not the Goal

A Christian should use the tools to better himself to become the person God wants him to become—a wise person. When one has an unbalanced view of education, the tools are viewed as the end result instead of an apparatus to reach the goal. A diploma on a wall or the ability to spout facts is not wisdom. The ability to speak several languages or read philosophical literature is not wisdom.

True wisdom is understanding and knowing God. The moment we understand and know God, we begin to see His holiness. We see His purposes, His love for man; we know who God is, so there’s never any hesitation to obey Him.


Scripture often uses the words knowledge, understanding, and wisdom interchangeably, but occasionally they are spoken of as though they are separate and distinct. Thus, it may be useful to attempt to define the differences in their meanings:

  • Knowledge is recognition of the facts, understanding is the ability to lift the meaning from the facts, and wisdom is knowing what to do next. Those with knowledge are able to collect, remember, and access information. They “know” the Scriptures. God’s Word is literally “in them.” They are scholars. However, it is possible to have knowledge and lack understanding and wisdom; that is, you may have the facts but have no clue as to their meaning or what to do with them.
  • Those with understanding are able to extract the meaning from information. They “see through” the facts to the dynamics of what, how, and why that is being conveyed in the information. They are teachers. Understanding is a lens that brings the facts into crisp focus. Understanding produces rules-of-thumb, or principles. Those with wisdom know which principle to apply, and when. Understanding without wisdom can appear contradictory. For example, “He who hesitates is lost” is as valid a principle as “Haste makes waste.” We see the truth in both, but we wonder which we should apply in our current situation.
  • Those with wisdom know what to do next. They know which way to go. They do the right thing. In contrast, there are many who have great knowledge and understanding, but consistently do the wrong thing. Wisdom, in this sense, is the goal, and knowledge and understanding only have eternal value as they result in wisdom or help us to do right

proverbs series previewIn life’s journey we have the choice to take either the wise or the unwise path. The results of walking wisely are joy, peace, contentment, confidence, and being in the presence of God. The results of walking unwisely are conflict, discouragement, disappointment, disillusionment, and discontentment. Jesus taught that there are two paths:

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.(Matt. 7:13–14)

God has called us to walk wisely. Situations arise in daily life for which the Bible does not supply a specific checklist of answers. In these situations we need to ask, “What is the wise thing for me to do?” Paul commanded the believers in Ephesus to live wisely.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5:15–17)

We are to think things through, to look at things from every angle. Believers are to show concern in decision making, finances, relationships, business transactions, family issues; indeed, in everything. What is wise for one may not be wise for all. God guides the believer in the way of wisdom. To refuse to live wisely is to ignore His leading. According to Proverbs, the wise man has length of days, long life, peace, and prosperity. God desires that we walk wisely so we can become the persons He created us to be and accomplish the work He has called us to do.

Wisdom: An Internet-Linked Unit Study

Taken from Wisdom: An Internet-Linked Unit Study


About Robin Sampson


  1. Thanks for this post. I see the wisdom in it, especially since I am involved in preaching in Uganda, and see how they value education as the means to wealth.

    However, can I just say how sad I am to see that you didn’t blog this week about the inauguration of your new president. I know you don’t approve of his politics, but I do feel that as a Christian, perhaps some mention could have been made on this blog. I am sure, had Senator McCain got in, you would have had a blog dedicated to asking God’s blessing on him. But President Obama is there because God has put him there – Romans 13 tells us so. What’s more, we are told to honour our leaders and those in authority over us, to be subject to them, and pray for them. Surely President Obama is needing of our prayers as he starts what must be a very daunting task!

    I live in UK, so have no opinion as to US politics at all, and know nothing of President Obama’s intentions, but as someone who is heavily involved in Uganda, I see the fact that a black man is now in charge a marvellous step forward in ending racism and bringing blacks and whites together. And that can only be good.

    But whatever one’s politics, I see it as a Christian duty to pray for our leaders, and to remember that God has placed them where they are. And I was just a bit sad that what is normally a very uplifting and helpful blog should have made the obvious decision not to publish anything on this subject.

    God bless

  2. Sue,
    Why are you so offended by Robin not publishing anything about the new Pres.? I am pleased that she is not jumping in the political arena. You mentioned the whole racial issue and admitted that you know nothing of his policies-just that you like that he is ‘black’. You should know that he is a liberal socialist and scares the $#@% out of us conservatives. B.O. ran on the figmant of everyone’s imagination-he ran his campaign with smoking mirrors of being the great ‘messiah’ who will bring ‘change’.
    I WILL be praying for his heart to change and for him and his advisors to make the right decisions….I am ticked off that everyone is making this a race issue when it is all about being an american with christian values! Our government was founded under GOD!

  3. I am sorry that I did not articulate that very well…I did not mean to sound ‘angry’ or ‘mean’. These are tough times in the U.S. and I’m learning to trust in Jesus for all things. I guess I was just initially upset about your comment when you clearly stated you weren’t that ‘informed’ about him. We are all struggling in our own ways to move forward now that B.O. is leading this country…..if you only knew….
    Sisters in Christ

  4. I didn’t blog about it because I was in extreme pain with 2 broken ribs (fall in the barn). I’m wearing a sling and it hard to type. I haven’t posted anything here but archives because of this and I’ve been very busy homeschooling. I did Twitter several prayers for our president and his family

    Sorry you took that as a negative. I really didn’t think about it. I can promise I would not have posted about McCain or anything else this week as I had little time.

    Robin Sampson

  5. I think it is unfair and discriminatory to assume that just because he is 1/4 African American that it will change racism. His father was 1/2 AA and his mother was Caucasian. Having an AA leader doesn’t mean racism will stop.

    Even the poem read aloud on that day was racist from a different perspective. The girl promoted ‘those who made the bricks and picked the cotton fields’ yet she forgets who FOUGHT off the English when they tried to invade us.

    And let’s not forget the white families that LOVED their slaves and took VERY good care of them and their children. Not all white people are racist.

    And what about the Indians who took terrific care of this land before all of us came? They had wisdom in caring for the land and all the wildlife.

    It’s because of the Indians that we even survived once we got here. Above all that, it is GOD who even gave us the opportunity to live here in the first place. God could end racism all on his own. He doesn’t need a man to do that. According to the Bible our world will not know peace until Christ himself comes back.

    Racism exists between several races not just white and AA. There is racial tension between many Americans, regardless of their skin color or what country they originally were from.

    If Robin decides not to get involved in saying anything about the inauguration that is her right. I know she is praying for him and his family, she does mention it in other arenas. The main goal of every Christian is to help others come to the saving knowledge of Christ our Lord. I have no doubt she is praying for that for the First Family.

    One last thing, just because God ‘allowed’ him to become President doesn’t mean he was God’s first choice. There are times when God allows a country to have the leader THEY want.

    We do need to pray for Obama. I pray for their safety and salvation, and for wisdom to lead this nation. Not all Americans will be pleased with his decisions.We do pray for him, but although we pray for him we will NOT stand down when he leads our nation back to killing MILLIONS more babies just because those women chose to have physical intimacy before marriage. We will obey the laws of the lands, but we do not have to support ungodly decisions.

  6. Hi Robin,
    Tehee, as an Aussie I actually found it refreshing to NOT read a homeschooling blog that didn’t revolve around the newly elected president.

    Aside from my obvious Australian (non-US) bias, I really appreciate any time you have to devote to encouraging fellow home educators. Robin, we simply don’t pay you enough! **SMILE**

    I read your twitter update about the ribs but do you think I can figure out how to respond to it? Nope! But I am so sorry to hear of your recent fall- I shall pray for your ribs to begin healing immediately. I’ve had broken ribs and they sure can be painful.

    In His Grace,

  7. This is an excellent post Robin and I’m sorry the comments on the content of the post got a little hijacked there! 🙂

    “When one has an unbalanced view of education, the tools are viewed as the end result instead of an apparatus to reach the goal. A diploma on a wall or the ability to spout facts is not wisdom. The ability to speak several languages or read philosophical literature is not wisdom.”

    How very very true! Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  8. Robin’s post was encouraging, it shows us her head was wrapped up in the Lord Jesus Christ even on the president’s day. A lot of brethren I know did NOT discuss about the president or whatsoever. They left it to God and pray for him even before president’s day itself. This brings to mind the story of Mary and Martha, from what I see, Robin chose to sit at the Lord Jesus’s feet!

  9. well said SisterLisa and Sharon! my point exactly.
    Robin-I didn’t know about your incident (I don’t know a lick about twitter) SO-I will be praying for your quick recovery as well.
    I’m also glad that you posted this about Wisdom-I had purchased your Wisdom study a year ago and due to procrastination I haven’t done it yet. This post prompted me to get going on with the study! I have intentions of doing it along with my oldest son. Thanks so much for all your posts, in fact I recently had to look up your past posts of ‘The Shack’ since I just recently finished reading it I wanted to tie in the Bible verses you related with it.

  10. Thank you for this insightful post. Quite frankly, if this had been a political post, I would have skipped it or just glossed over it. I don’t read homeschool blogs for that. I will pray for Obama because God instructs us to, and if we start obeying God as a nation, we will see good things in my opinion.

  11. May God grant us the wisdom that only He can give.


    HEART OF A READY WRITER – Reading Through the Bible in 2009

  12. Melanie

    A great reminder for me. I am often tempted to go back to school simply to get a diploma to hang on my wall. I am learning so much more than in a classroom right now. I needed that. Thanks.

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