Common Sense, Work, Ethics, Knowledge, Wisdom

Have you ever noticed that people who work hard and value a strong work ethic, are full of what we call “Common Sense”?

You may suppose this is a merely coincidence, but I disagree. Contrary to mainstream belief, I feel common sense is not a gift that one either possesses or does not possess. I believe that common sense is earned through hard work. I believe the two are inseperable. I am not talking about knowledge – that is another matter. I am not speaking of “brainiacs” or “smart people” – Rather I am speaking of people full of the understanding of how to make it in life. People who value a dollar and understand the morality of earning your keep and the immorality of sloth. People who grasp the pragmatism of everyday living. My mom is one such person. I think Jesus – the carpenter was one as well.

My wife and I talked about this at length over our Sunday evening dinner. We entertained the idea that Common Sense is earned through hard work, and that hard work is an Ethic that governs your life. An Ethic is a moral framework that shapes your decisions. (If I live, for example, by the ethic of pruity, then I refrain form sexual immorality – the fruit of which would be a happy marriage and a confidence in my self-worth and the value of my mate. If I engage in such sexual immorality, then I am not pure, and I do not truly hold to that ethic – also I lose the fruits of holding that ethic.)

This is how it is with the ethic of hard work – a fruit of it is common sense.

Therefore common sense is earned. It is not a gift and those who have it deserve it. I wish I had more of it!


I taught preschoolers, yesterday, the difference between knowledge and wisdom – AND THEY UNDERSTOOD. Yet half the adults out there do not get it.

Knowledge is the mental ascent to something… some fact, truth, governing dynamic, etc. Wisdom is the application of that knowledge. Wise people do not sit in the seat of the “know it all” who says everything they know, but practices none of it. This is foolish – a foolish person who is full of knowledge – and yes, there is such a person.

A failure to apply our knowledge is a “failure of nerve” and a failure to accept this one great truth – Life is difficult.


Life is difficult… some accept it and take the road less traveled. Some refuse to accept it and moan about as if their lives are more difficult than most thereby taking the road most traveled. This road is marked with sorrow, emptiness, and profound misery. But the road less traveled is marked with pain, trials, and tribulations – a much safer and rewarding form of suffering than the latter.


If you read this post and nod along as if I have profoundly impacted your life in some lasting way – then remember this before you live it out. You are listening to life advice and “wisdom” from a young man who has barely lived – 26 years old. This makes you neither smart nor wise. And dare I say it makes you a lazy worker, because if you had common sense you’d take life advise from someone else – and if you lack commons sense, then you are not a hard worker. And if your not a hard worker…. this could go on and on.


  1. Joe, we can say you are wise for a 26 year old! 🙂

    Since we are each unique, and have our own experiences, we can become wise in ways that may take others years to grasp if we didn’t share it with them. That is the beauty of the Christian community, we are called to share our lives with one another to strengthen one another. That is hard work and takes alot of common sense.

    Great encouragement to start the week off with!

    God’s grace to you!

  2. Tim –

    I totally agree… God gives us grace (not in the saving sense of the word, but the redeeming sense) when he presents opportunities to grow in our experiences – its as if he was uniquely crafting our experiences so we can minister in unique ways… the goal should be to work hard in engaging these opportunites and “seizing the day.”

    Grace –

    Joe James

  3. Common sense is more common than you might think! It’s just that most people don’t know how to use it. While it may not be a gift, you should know that there are a very few ” gifted” people who have “un-common sense”. The first few people who come to mind are, Your Grandma Glenda, Your Mother, Jimmy Adcox,and President Reagen.I’m sure there are others that I know, but these are the ones that are most obvious to me. Just for the record, Glenda Cagle may be in a class by herself when it comes to “un-common sense!


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