by Charles R. Swindoll
Are you ready for a surprise? You blink twenty-five times every minute. Each blink takes you about one-fifth of a second. Therefore, if you take a ten-hour automobile trip, averaging forty miles per hour, you will drive twenty miles with your eyes closed.
I know a fact far more surprising than that. Some people go through life with their eyes closed. They look but don't really "see" . . . they observe the surface but omit the underneath . . . they focus on images but not issues . . . vision is present but perception is absent. If life were a painting, they would see colors but no genius in the strokes of the brush. If it were a journey, they would notice a road but no majestic, awesome scenery. If it were a meal, they would eat and drink but overlook the exquisite beauty of the china and the delicate touch of wine in the sauce. If it were a poem, they would read print on the page but miss altogether the passion of the poet. Remove insight and you suddenly reduce life to existence with frequent flashes of boredom and indifference.
Those without insight dwell mainly in the realm of the obvious . . . the expected . . . the essentials. The dimensions that interest them are length and width, not depth. Please understand, I do not mean to be critical of those who cannot go deeper . . . but of those who can but will not. I'm not pointing my finger at inability but rather refusal.
As a concrete illustration, take the boatload of disciples in Mark, chapter 6. Immediately after Jesus had miraculously fed thousands of people with a few loaves and fish, He sent His men away in a boat as He slipped off to a quiet place on the mountain to pray. A storm later broke upon the sea and they were filled with panic. He came to their rescue shortly thereafter and calmed the sea as He stilled the wind and assured them there was no reason to be afraid. Mark makes a comment worth remembering:
They were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened. (Mark 6:51-52)
It wasn't that they were unable to understand. They didn't want to understand! William Barclay of Glasgow says, "Their minds were obtuse." That was the root problem. Those men were insensitive, dull, blunt-brained. They weren't ding-a-lings by nature, but by choice—and therein rested not the tragedy but the blame! They didn't need Jesus's pity as much as they deserved a rebuke. By then they had been sufficiently exposed to their miracle-working Master to respond with keen insight to their circumstances. Had they applied what they observed earlier that day when the thousands were fed, their response to the storm would have been insightful.
Hebrews 5 is addressed to similar disciples today. Hours upon hours have been logged under the teaching of the Word, and opportunities to use those truths have been legion. But what does this passage say? It says some have become "dull of hearing"—thick, lazy, sluggish, lacking insight. Maturity—the result of mixing insight with practice—is rare today . . . and so the discernment between good and evil, brought on by "trained senses," is frequently conspicuous by its absence.
What are a few practical rewards? Parents with insight usually raise kids that are secure, fulfilled, relaxed, free to forge out ideas and to think. Single adults with insight won't feel they must marry—the sooner the better. Teachers with insight create an atmosphere conducive to learning. Bosses with insight develop employees and remain sensitive to surrounding needs. Students with insight learn far more than the required subject—they indeed glean an education.
I challenge you: Open your eyes! Think! Apply! Dig! Listen! There's a lot of difference between necessary blinking and unnecessary blindness.
Excerpted from Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, Copyright © 1983 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by arrangement with Zondervan Publishing House.