A great preacher, now gone to his reward was fond of telling his visit to an oriental restaurant and the message in the fortune cookie. It read, “One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of learning.”
One thorn is not much compared to a whole wilderness area. It is minute!
We can only speculate on the value of a wilderness of learning. The potential is there but often goes unrealized. But experience teaches us practical values that are helpful, almost intuitive. If given the choice of help from an experienced person or a person with a lot of book learning, most would choose experience.
The same is true when we spread the Gospel. I do not benefit much from the people who have a lot of learning, but little experience. I want a teacher who is on the same road, perhaps a few steps ahead of me, so that I may benefit from his/her experience.
Theoretical knowledge seldom carries the day, but experience does! This is why a small amount of experience outweighs learning by so much.
When you are sharing the Good News, do you get carried away with the theoretical? Or do you simply tell what Jesus has done for you in your own experience? Which method is more effective? For those whom the Holy Spirit has prepared ahead of time, I think they want to hear the practical side, because something is missing in their life. They want answers, not theory.
The thorn of experience is what’s needed today. People need to hear the good news of how Jesus has helped you. They do not need “Ten Things to avoid in Seeking God.” Perhaps that will come later. They just need to know how much Jesus loves us, died for us and cares for us.
My prayer for you today is that you may recapture the joy of salvation, lead others to the Lord with simplicity, and share the thorn of experience you have with Christ…don’t overwhelm them with the whole wilderness. In this case, less is more!