Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism. A greedy man brings trouble to his family. Answering before listening is both stupid and rude. An undisciplined, self-willed life is puny. Cutting words wound and maim.
Would you agree?
Those statements are taken from the biggest bestseller of all time, the Bible, from the Old Testament book of Proverbs, written by King Solomon to the people of Israel during his reign from 970-930 B.C. Relevant and true after more than two thousand years, Solomon’s words implored his people to live wisely rather than follow the seductive path of the world – a pathway of fools. We understand his motive behind the instruction, don’t we? If you have children, I’m sure you admonish them to take the “right road” several times a day. You want them to live a certain way, don’t you? But, to what end? Could it be you want your kids to avoid the same pitfalls Solomon warned his people about?
Unlike knowledge we gain, wisdom comes from God. It’s the art of living a purposeful, intentional, well-lived, “on earth as it is in Heaven” life. Fortunately, being a wise guy (or woman) doesn’t hinge on the degrees you’ve earned or the status you’ve achieved. We should all breathe a sigh of relief because your status on the proverbial ladder doesn’t matter. With God’s help, we learn to discern the wise path from the tantalizing self-preferred or self-serving path. We often discover our struggles in this life are not with others, but, in many cases, with self and with God. Wisdom is a skill that’s mastered when we give God the reigns.
I believe the measure of true greatness is not a job title, padded bank account or toys parked in the garage. I’ve stumbled in these areas of my life and know first-hand pride blinds us to what really matters. We grow in wisdom as we accept God’s lessons along the way. King Solomon says, “…humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33). Pride crowds the heart, leaving no room for others. All it thinks about is itself. A selfless life is a precursor to honor and honor and respect are what the heart of every man truly wants and needs.
Also, I believe the real litmus test for success is not measured by what you keep, but by what you give away – not just money, but your time and your life. Solomon’s got an app for that as well. “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller” (Proverbs 11:24)
Selfless living flips our inward focus around. A renewed outward focus helps us clearly see the needs of all the people in our sphere of influence, especially our children. Is it love, time, approval, or encouragement they need? Perhaps it’s choosing words that build up rather than tear down. Instead of using cutting words that “wound and maim,” Solomon contrasts it with kind words that “help and heal” (Proverbs 15:4). Instead of living a puny undisciplined, self-willed life, through God, Solomon implores, we can live a “spacious obedient, God-willed life” (Proverbs 15:32). In that scenario, everyone benefits from the wise choices you make. No one has to pay the consequences.
There are men in your community leaving an indelible mark on their family, community and a group of fatherless boys through their participation in the Fathers in the Field ministry. They are putting their wisdom in action as “Mentor Fathers” to fatherless boys, their “Field Buddies,” who desperately need a strong male role model in their lives. These Mentor Fathers know their purpose and fulfillment doesn’t come from extra hours in the office for extra gain. It comes from the time they invest in what lasts – their legacy in the lives of their families and others. Thankfully, this includes the generosity of their time and life given to their Field Buddies as they hunt, fish, hike, play, serve others, and study God’s word together.
If we’re wise guys, we’re more apt to live in the “bigger story” as key players in the lives of others, instead living as the sole star in our own short-sighted one-act play. Compelled to love and armed with purpose, our focus is sharp and we aim at greater things.
“The path of life leads upward for the wise.” (Proverbs 15:24)
Happy Father’s Day!