The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Counsel
God’s Gift to Fools
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
This particular piece of advice is repeated several times in Proverbs. The wise man listens to advice from others (12:15), accepts instruction (19:20), and proactively seeks out wise counsel before embarking on a major project (20:18) because he understands that no plan can succeed without the Lord’s blessing (21:30). Finally, he takes great joy in listening to the advice of his friends (27:9).
I have a few friends in my life who are like that. Every time they speak, they speak wisdom and knowledge. Some of them are people I have known for twenty or thirty years. Some of them are people I don’t talk to very often. Some of them are people I may not talk to except once every ten years. But because they are people of wisdom and knowledge, I know that if I have not talked to them for ten years, I can go back to them and say, “What do you think about this?” Because their lips speak wisdom and knowledge, they can say, “I don’t think you should do this; I don’t think you should do that; have you thought about this?” Invariably, when I talk to people like that, my life is enriched because the lips of the righteous bring forth wisdom and knowledge. Blessed are you if you have a few people in your life who can speak wisdom and knowledge to you. You are doubly blessed if you have the ability to speak wisdom and knowledge to other people.
What is the difference between a wise man and a fool? The fool thinks he knows it all; the wise man knows he doesn’t. The fool refuses instruction because he’s got his whole plan laid out in his mind and he doesn’t want to be bothered with anyone else’s opinion. The wise man knows that his plans aren’t perfect, so he isn’t embarrassed to ask for advice.
Seeking counsel has many benefits. It gives us another set of eyes and ears; it buys us time to think of alternatives. We may uncover an entirely new perspective or possibly a new set of facts to consider. Certainly wise counselors will produce in us a new sense of humility.
After we have received wise counsel, evaluated our plans, and adjusted them accordingly, we may move forward with new confidence because our plans have been tested even before we put them in place.
No one knows everything. No one has all the knowledge. But God gave each of us a little piece of the big picture. The more pieces we put together in advance, the greater our chances for success.
So before you make a big decision, pick up the phone and call a few friends. Ask for help. Let them take a free shot at your new idea. If it’s a good one, it will stand the test. If it’s not, you can change it or forget about it. Either way, you come out ahead.
Father, thank You for friends who care enough to give wise advice. Please give me an open heart to graciously receive what they say. Amen.
Who gives you counsel when you face a big decision? Who comes to you for counsel?
What principles do you use to sift out the good from the bad? Have you ever ignored the advice of your friends on a major issue? What happened?
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