In his book, The Untold Secret That Creates Wealth, author John Beehner recounts an experience with a successful Christian entrepreneur by the name of John Smith. By the age of 28, Mr. Smith had built a chain of 20 athletic stores. At one time each store was averaging 2 million in sales per year. Then the marketplace began to change with the emergence of Walmart and Kmart. Despite the competition and slumping sales, Mr. Smith pressed forward with expansion. Some advised him to sell while he could make a profit. After things worsened still, he had the opportunity to sell the remaining stores for more than 2 million dollars, but John refused. Ultimately, Mr. Smith was forced to close down completely, while still owing nearly 1 million dollars. If he had listened to wise counsel, he would have been able to remain financially secure.
Three times in the book of Proverbs, God instructs us about the wisdom and necessity of listening to wise counsel from others. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” It is a sign of wisdom, humility, maturity, and good sense to listen to and heed good counsel. It only proves us to be arrogant, or a fool, when we refuse. Proverbs 11:14 tells us, “Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” There is a good reason why presidents and prime ministers have a cabinet and advisers to guide them when making important decisions. Likewise, in wisdom, God ordained that churches be run by a multitude of spiritually capable elders. In both instances, this practice minimizes wrong decisions and provides greater safety for the people they serve. In Proverbs 19:20, the Lord’s instructions to us are, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” In other words, we are implored to listen carefully to, and learn from, those with wise counsel.
Are you facing an important decision? We encourage you to seek out wise counsel. Wise counsel is not a friend who will only tell you what you want to hear. Wise counsel will tell you what God wants you to hear, and that means its advice will be consistent with biblical principles. When that’s the counsel you hear, listen. Doing so will avoid problems, make life easier, and demonstrate godly wisdom.
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