PROVERBS 8:5: “Learn to be shrewd, you who are inexperienced; develop common sense, you who are foolish.”CSB
OBSERVATION: What ever happened to discretion? What ever happened to common sense? In a day when we have a plethora of information available to us at the touch of a finger, why do we still end up doing some really foolish things? I had to look in the mirror when I read this verse in Proverbs!
Solomon, writing to his son, tells him two important things. If you are inexperienced, you need to become shrewd. You need to learn how to use discretion. If you are prone to making foolish decisions, you need to learn some good old common sense. Both of these qualities can be learned, but they are rarely, if ever, learned in a classroom or from a textbook. These qualities are learned on the highway we call life.
Yet, we are not called to learn them in a vacuum. If I am inexperienced, I only need to find someone who is more experienced in the area where I am lacking. If I am faced with a decision that may lead to a foolish end, I need to seek out someone who has walked this pathway a bit longer than I have, and who will be able to lend some credible and needed context and wisdom.
I still struggle in these areas. In some areas of my life I have done well. And in others, I have been pulled in by the lure of something that looked too good to be true. What I have found in life is twofold. First, there is no free cup of coffee. Second, if it looks too good to be true – it is, period!
When I negotiated the purchase of a candle manufacturing plant for my parent company, I was congratulated and then told – “Now get it running!” I knew nothing about making candles. The plant was shut down, and the equipment was not even geared for the product we wanted to make. I needed help. And in this scenario, I did well. I reached out to those with experience and longevity in the industry. I became a diligent study. And, I gained discretion and some good old common sense! And, the candle company became a great success!
However, just the other day, I did something really stupid. I was in the emergency room for some heart tests, having been admitted with chest pains (I was concerned because I have an artificial heart valve). My cardiologist was detained with three heart attack patients. I was the low man on the triage pole. It was 16.5 hours before I saw my doctor. I was bored, so I began surfing Facebook. This can always be dangerous!
I love to go the Facebook marketplace because it has learned my proclivity for old cars. I get to look at all the cars I wanted as a youth, although they are too expensive now for me to own. As I was surfing the marketplace, there was a pop-up ad for a beautiful, black, Ovation guitar – for a ridiculously low price. I was bored, tired, tied to the monitors, and thought – why not! It was at this moment that I put all the common sense I had in a bag and hid it under the bed. I made the purchase, even though I knew in my head and heart it was too good to be true. Yet, I thought – “WOW – what if it is true!”
Fast forward. The website changed 4 times. The tracking number disappeared. I was scammed! Fortunately, I was able to report this to my credit card company. But, why did I do it in the first place? Why didn’t I exercise the common sense that I had learned over the years? I think it was because I was tired, bored, and at that moment, I refused to listen to the still small voice in my heart. The Holy Spirit is our teacher, and the provider of common sense and discretion. If I simply would have listened to Him, I would have avoided all the hassle.
So, there you have it. One glaring victory. One stupid action. This is much of what life seems to be for most of us. Yet, I really don’t think the Lord wants any of us to live this way.
I love these verses from the book of Isaiah,
- “For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.” Isaiah 30:19-21 CSB
So what have I learned from this? I need to listen to the Lord at all times. I need to learn discretion and common sense. If something looks too good to be true – it is! Especially on Facebook :). There is no free cup of coffee. Wisdom and understanding are God’s gift to us to protect us on the pathway of life. And, when we don’t know what to do, pray, and listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. It really will save us from a lot of silly mistakes!
Lord, thank You for Your Word which daily gives me wisdom, understanding, discretion, and good old common sense. The next time I try to buy a guitar for an impossible price, well…You know!
In Jesus Name!