Paul was absolutely right when he says, “Knowledge puffs up” because a Know-It-All is view as more of a nuisance than informative.
And! We all get annoyed; when someone, corrects our Grammar. All. The, Time. Or when we say something and they say, “Well, actually, it's….” I mean once or twice is okay, but after while, they're “Well, actually” intro takes all the restraint we have from taking the fork and (gently) stabbing the person's hand. Or something like that.
And I know there are many times where I was (am) the know-it-all.
Having knowledge is not bad. Being informative isn't bad at all. But there's a fine line between being a know-it-all and being informative.
My in-laws visited us this past weekend, and my wife's brother in-law was very informative of all food related conversations. He would tell us how to steam crab, how to eat a sea urchin (I passed. It was too much) and all sorts of other stuff. But it wasn't in a know-it-all fashion. My reaction wasn't a “groan, here we go” but a “oh, cool, that's good to know.”
Then they're colleagues that share what they know, but it comes off as a know-it-all. I can't quite figure out where that fine-line is drawn.
Is it speaking from experience? Like, someone talking from their very own experience instead of speaking from something they read somewhere, when they don't have any experience in that subject matter?
Is it based on what we think of someone? I like my wife's bro in-law. Therefore, everything he said was beneficial and I listened. Sometimes, when someone we don't really care for stands up to speak, before they even utter a word, eyes are rolled (Oh, I know I'm not the only one).
Does it have to do with how someone presents the information? Like, are they stating it “as, well, you know…” or like, “look at me, I'm smarter than most of you” fashion?
Or does it have to do with the fact that I didn't ask for their opinion, but they always give it anyhow? Or, instead of giving information, it's given in a matter to correct the error in our thinking?
I don't know.
But I think when it comes to teaching or leading, what we know is not as important as what we do. The “Do as I say not as I do” model isn't quite effective as Paul's “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” model.
Jesus didn't just teach with words, but he also taught with action. The dude hung on a cross to teach about sacrificial love. And we all got that message. I mean, him saying that “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friend” is a great teaching, but actually laying down his life for his friends, no one could ignore that. And it changed the lives of those who spent 3 years with him, and in turn, changed the world.
I'd like to say that people aren't that interested in what we know and how much we know. And I like to say that, because it makes me feel a little better about myself, because I'm not the smartest person you'll meet (or the most grammatically correct). But, I think people are more interested in how we apply that knowledge, because we all know that actions speak louder than words.
But smart or not, everyone's important and vital in the Body of Christ. You may be the brains of the Body and others may be the appendages, but that does not limit your value and worth in Christ Jesus. We all have our calling and purpose in God's plan for the world.
So, just do your thing (or thang) for God.
And, next time I run into a Know-it-All, I think it will be good for me to listen before rolling my eyes. There may be something that the brain of the Body might be able to teach me.