From Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do (…)  – I Chronicles 12:32a (Berean Study Bible)

Someone once quipped, “There are three kinds of people. Those who make things happen. Those who watch things happen. And those who wonder, ‘What happened?’” This indicates that some folks have an “action orientation” tendency to take life by the throat and be proactive. In contrast, some other types are content to passively observe as life and opportunities slip by. The Pareto Principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, is more commonly known as the 80/20 rule. It states that, in almost any organization or system, 80% of the outputs come from 20% of the related inputs. For example, in a normal classroom, 20% of the students ask 80% of the questions. In a meeting, 20% of the attendees make 80% of the suggestions. Some have dubbed this principle, “the rule of the crucial few or the trivial many.” The Book of I Chronicles is often seen as a “dry” part of the Bible, since it consists heavily of genealogical lists. However, tucked away in 12:32, we see a tribe of Issachar who “understood the times” and knew what to do. In other words, they had the rare combination of insight into what was going on around them, and they knew how to respond wisely. A common expression is “Knowledge is Power,” but many writers and thinkers disagree. Memory expert Jim Kwik explains: “Knowledge is power: You hear it all the time but knowledge is not power. It’s only potential power. It only becomes power when we apply it and use it. Somebody who reads a book and doesn’t apply it, they’re at no advantage over someone who’s illiterate. None of it works unless YOU work. We have to do our part. If knowing is half the battle, action is the second half of the battle.” As ancient Israel had its challenges, we face our demanding challenges daily as well. How do we respond? Take a lesson from the tribe of Issachar: ask God to help you understand the times, and ask for wisdom to then know what to do.


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