“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11
Today we are completing the fifth of five natural traits that more often than not, carry the day. Speed and strength were the first two and they are based on physical endowments, which one may be born with, but must develop. The next three deal with the area of the intellect: Wisdom, understanding and skill.
The word translated as “skill” is “yada” and appears in Scripture nearly 900 times and almost every time, it is translated as know, knowing or knowledge. This is significant because Solomon over and over again in the book of Proverbs speaks of these three, knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Knowledge is the accumulation of information. Wisdom knows what to do with that knowledge and understanding is the comprehension of the effects on the heart or emotions.
Another way of saying it is: Knowledge just is. Wisdom knows what to do with knowledge, but understanding feels the impact. Solomon is saying here that favor comes to people who know stuff. Knowledge gives you favor. It increases your value to the organization. If you have understanding on the other hand, (the ability to connect facts to the emotional impact), it tends to bring riches. That’s because people buy on emotion and justify with logic.
So the lesson here is threefold… lay up knowledge (Pr 10:14) to increase your value to the marketplace, grow in wisdom so you can turn knowledge into bread, (provision). Then learn to help folks understand the emotional impact, the advantage, the joy, etc of your product or offering. When you do that, they will put riches in your hand.