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Robert A. Heinlein, (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) an American sci-fi writer and one of the most influential and controversial authors of his time, wrote:

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”


Then Peter Merel came up with a version for developers:

“A programmer should be able to fix a bug, market an application, maintain a legacy, lead a team, design an architecture, hack a kernel, schedule a project, craft a class, route a network, give a reference, take orders, give orders, use configuration management, prototype, apply patterns, innovate, write documentation, support users, create a cool web-site, email efficiently, resign smoothly. Specialization is for recruiters”

These expressions are not feasible at all. These kinds of statements will only make you feel inferior and inadequate. They will make you think of yourself as under-achieving and drive you to overly exert and out-do yourself. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead,” Philippians 3:13 (NET), and again, “The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single [or focused], thy whole body shall be full of light.Matthew 6:22 (ASV)

To plan an invasion you need to join the military, and while you’re at it learning how to fight efficiently and die gallantly; how to give and take orders, you couldn’t possible keep abreast with the most recent building and construction standards or the latest technologies in programming a computer.

Likewise, having read (but not completed) the book “100 Ideas that Changed Marketing”, I can boldly say that marketing techniques are as dynamic as the technology that drives them. You couldn’t possibly be excellent at hacking a kernel and marketing an application as well as ALL the other things Peter Merel proposes, which includes being a leader, a network architect, a project manager, and customer service personnel. IF you can, and you do, then you don’t need anybody, that is, the established wisdom that “no man is an island” just wouldn’t hold up for you. IF you can, and you do, you must be all-sufficient and are bound to condescend and take people for granted. Only God is all-sufficient.

I think we should be careful what apparently “smart quotes” and “wise sayings” we “like” or “share” on social media or via other means. We should hold up words against the light of the Word of God and be sure there are no “microbes” or “plankton” before we literally drink them down as wisdom. “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’;1 Corinthians 3:19 (NIV)

Jesus said the words He speaks to us are spirit and life. In fact, the words we listen to everyday: over the radio, on TV, via our headphones, in the market places and offices, in the church or lecture hall, in our heads, virtually everywhere and irrespective or who utters them, are spirits being ministered to us, they become life or death depending on their agenda which we permit them to carry out in our lives. What do you do with the words you hear? Do you check them first for truth, or do you jump at “new found wisdom” and become a “sharing evangelist” to the next 10 equally gullible people you meet? This is the information age, and everyone is expressing themselves. Don’t believe EVERYTHING you hear when they are somewhat inconsistent with everything God has taught you.

Finally don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that Satan is foolish and wise things apparently couldn’t come from him.

“Now the serpent was more crafty [subtle, cunning, clever] than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’“ Genesis 3:1 (NIV)

Kind regards.

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