God willing, over the next 12 Saturdays, we’re going to look at the practicality of wisdom in Christ, to which I’ll refer as “counseling”. For, before we can equip and encourage anyone else in what Jesus says, we must first receive His counsel for ourselves.
One of the keys to joy in Christ is wisdom, an especially essential tool for anyone God has charged to care for others. Depending on the translation, the book of Proverbs refers to the wise as “a man of understanding” 12 times. The first of those references is Proverbs 1:5, “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Most effective leaders and counselors will immediately recognize the truth and power of this statement. The less experienced may assume that people in positions of influence usually do all of the talking and only listen to those who are over them.
Moses listened to Jethro, his father-in-law (but maybe more significantly a non-Israelite priest) and released the unnecessary burden of counselling every case that came before him (Exodus 18). David listened to a fool’s wife and avoided the temptation of personal vengeance and soiling his good name (1 Samuel 25). Naaman, the Commander of the Aramean army listened to an unnamed Israelite slave girl and discovered God’s healing (1 Kings 19). The gatekeepers of Jerusalem listened to two lepers and found more than enough to feed the starving city (2 Kings 7). Queen Esther, the adopted niece of Mordecai, listened to her uncle even when it could’ve gotten her killed and helped save the Jews from genocide (Esther 4). Peter listened to the invitation of a Centurion (a military Commander of Israel’s captors) and was God’s first prominent witness of the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10-11). And Paul even “listened” to the idols at the Areopogas and learned how to introduce the gospel to the Greek philosophers (Acts 17:22ff).
What did all these people have in common? They were more concerned with knowing and doing God’s will than from where that wisdom came.
Who has God put in your life or mine?
Some of them may seem to be unlikely sources of wisdom, but God may have given them truths and perspectives to teach us. And when we listen to them, the Lord will remind us of His providence for leaders, His love for the outcast, His strength for the captive, His provision for the hurting, His attention yo the marginalized, His work through the counselor, and His grace for the undeserving. And by receiving these, He will grace us with wisdom to serve for His glory in the blessing of His people.
May He keep our hearts and ears open for wisdom – no matter from where it comes.