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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

“…But wisdom brings success.” – Ecclesiastes 10:10

I think it is safe to say that we all hope for success in life. No matter how you determine and measure what success is for you, you can be honest about how you view it. Success, for many of us, is a goal. For others, it is a destination.

You can’t get there without some work. You can’t reach it without some determination. You can’t get there without some faith. But you surely cannot obtain it or sustain without wisdom.

Solomon appraised life in its entirety through the lens of wisdom. He advised and admonished through Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. He pointed out how vanity led to misery and poverty, while humility led to honor.

Make it a point to be more successful. Add wisdom to your daily agenda and diet.

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Do not wear yourself out to get rich;

do not trust your own cleverness.

– Proverbs 23:4 (NIV)

Riches are fleeting.

If you don’t believe me, just look at how this preceding verse is followed up.

Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,

for they will surely sprout wings

and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

-Proverbs 23:5 (NIV)

The very money that you worked yourself into an early grave to obtain can “sprout wings” and “fly off.” That doesn’t sound like a solid and prudent investment of anyone’s time and other resources like energy and thought.  It sounds like a waste.  In fact, the Scriptures are not saying that wealth is a waste.  The words relate to the effort that other versions and translations of the Bible consider to be an effort to “overwork.” It gives a connotation and warning not to overwork to become rich.

The Book of Proverbs advises a different approach in chapter 13;  “. . . but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”

Ask yourself which way you are going about obtaining wealth and riches.

Are you doing yourself a favor by gathering it “little by little?” Or, are you doing yourself a disservice by seeking to “overwork” to get there?

At the end of the day, the choice is yours.  You can work yourself into a frenzy and have little to show for it except for a bunch of stress and agony to go along with an ulcer or panic attacks of anxiety.  You can also see all of what you have saved to go away right out of your own hands and into the hands of another.

 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction.     – Ecclesiastes 6:2 (NKJV)

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UCLA is a storied basketball program.  Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Walt Hazard and plenty of others played under the Wizard of Westwood.  They played on the hardwood, but they also gleaned some sound and sage advice from a man ahead of his time when it came to coaching star athletes.

John Wooden coached team basketball.  He emphasized each player’s ability to contribute to the team rather the star quality that we see a lot of today with college athletes.  Imagine if  a coach like Wooden had gotten to some of our more troubled athletes.  Just think of the guys who would be less conceited and greater contributors to their sport as well as the world in general.

I continue to read Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success to this day and find it to serve as a great read.  Inspirational messages and memories from Wooden match up with biblical principles to spread wisdom for life.  This would be a great gift for a young aspiring athlete or a sports coach.  There are nuggets of wisdom within its pages just waiting to be discovered by some open mind.

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Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. – Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. – Proverbs 11:14 (KJV)

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. – Romans 14:1 (NIV)

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. – Romans 15:1 (NIV)

People are in need.  People need comfort.  People need counsel.  People stand in desperate need of shared words of both comfort and counsel.

Incident #1:

A family finds itself victims of random burglary and ends up behind in bills and other matters.  The wife attends church, but the husband doesn’t come any longer.  They are split on approaching the church for help.

What do you think that they are in need of from other believers? Counsel? Comforting words?

Incident #2:

A parent discovers that her only child has shown signs of mental illness.  She is a woman of faith and a prayer warrior.  However, she seems to be at the end of her rope with the school administration pressuring her to have her daughter tested and the other parent both absent and not involved at all.

What is this woman in need of from her brothers and sisters in Christ? Counsel? Comfort?

We can go about things the wrong way.  We can make assumptions due to unmet expectations and all sorts of other junk that we put into things.  We need to be able to offer counsel to one another.  We need to be able to offer words of comfort to one another, too.

Let’s be honest and just keep it real.  We need to meet people at that point of their need.  If they are weak, let us build them up.  If they are out of line, let us bring them back into line.  Let us do it in such a way that they are better off rather than beaten down.  Give them words of comfort.  Share words of wisdom.  Offer wise counsel.  Comfort those whose hearts are weighed down with worries and weariness.

  34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35 (NIV)

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Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.- Proverbs 26:4 (NIV)
 
Yes, it is true that Jesus said that we are not to call our brother a fool. The caveat to that teaching is a study of context that speaks about the anger in which we use such words rather than simply inserting some euphemism that says what we meant in code. Jesus was teaching about judgment and anger in Matthew 5:22. However, the Proverbs are clear about identifying the foolish actions that separate the fool from the wise and prudent. Obviously, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we see it as a duck. If it acts foolish and sounds foolish… It is what it is.
 
The words of Solomon teach us that fools act differently. In fact, Solomon teaches us through Proverbs that a fool is wise in his own eyes. Answering a fool according to his folly requires you to get on that fool’s level. In other words, what you are doing is addressing the fool by the same foolish ways that he uses. I picture it like this: a wise man and a fool get into a verbal argument, hurling insults at one another and calling each other fools. How do you identify the wise man from the fool? Exactly! The precise problem is what it projects to others, especially the fool himself. You just justified his argument to some degree by what you did in response to him. Such actions on our part kill the power of our witness.
 
With those who choose to go about things foolishly, I say simply show them another way by example. If they are foolish, they’ll keep doing what they’ve always done just for the sake of it. If they have any degree of common sense, they’ll see how you go about things differently and at least inquire of what makes you different. Keep in mind that you can win someone over by killing them with kindness, showering and smothering them with lovingkindness. Catch more flies with the sweet honey of your lips rather than poisoning them with the venomous vinegar.

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