In a world filled with idiots and fools, where can a person go to gain wisdom and insight?
A good place to start is the Proverbs from the Bible. They have universal cross cultural application and have been cherished by wise people for millennia. Here are a few I’ve cherry picked this morning.
Proverbs 6:6-11–The Ant
6. Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
7. Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
8. she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
9. How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10. A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
11. and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
Learning from the ant is always a good idea. Work hard. Plan for the future. Take the initiative. Don’t wait to be told. These are powerful lessons for life. If only we could work this into the high school curriculum.
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
This is the YouTube/Twitter/Facebook Proverb. The greatest problem our world has today is that everyone is talking and no one is listening. Nobody guards their mouth, they just blather on endlessly. I have a lot of high hopes for the Millennial Generation, but this is a problem for them and they’re going to have to figure this out before they drown in a sea of stupid words.
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
I never had a brother. I don’t know how close a brother sticks. Yet I do know that I am blessed in that in Christ there are a select few people whom I trust implicitly, and whom I know would never in a million lifetimes cause me ruin or pain.
4. Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
5. Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
This passage is a mystery to many people. So which is it? Do I answer a fool, or do I not answer a fool. The answer is, stay away from the fool altogether. Refuse to get dragged into a conversation with them because you can’t win with a fool. If you speak, you’re doomed. If you don’t speak up, your doomed. The only good advise is to stay away from fools. To do this takes courage, because you must be willing to label certain people as fools and foolish and then limit their access to you. Note, this is not the same as calling someone a “fool” as a swear in anger like Jesus prohibited in the New Testament (Matthew 5:22) but instead the right labeling of someone is ethically, morally, and socially foolish.
Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own
is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.
This should be called the “Playground and Foreign Policy Proverb.” Seriously, it boils down to ‘mind your own beeswax.’ Leave the dog alone, and he will probably ignore you, unless you’ve got bacon in your pocket. If you’ve got bacon in your pocket he is your best friend forever. If you grab the dog by the ear, he will become agitated and angry, but as long as you have him by the ears, you are momentarily safe. However, if you let go of one hand, he will swing around and bite you. If you let go with both hands, he will bite you. Once you interfere with the dog, it is inevitable that you will get bit. It works on the playground in kindergarten when you are learning about social interaction and it works in foreign policy in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and lookout, Ukraine.
Before I wrap this up, though, I leave you with the one Proverb you should absolutely memorize and live by. Proverbs 3:5-6
5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6. In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
For more Proverbs from Greenbean, click here.