Wisdom & Advice
Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others.
Proverbs 12 v 15
Turkish family relationships are very different to British ones.
I have two older sisters and I love them both dearly, but until recently I would never have thought to ask their advice about life decisions. However, if I were Turkish, I wouldn't buy a sofa without consulting ablam, my older sister.
Older brothers (abi, pronounced ah-bee) are also very important in Turkish culture. Older brothers feel a responsibility for their younger siblings and in return they are shown respect and their advice is listened to.
When I went to boarding school, my older sister, Sally, was still there. I relied on her support and advice and looked up to her. Isn't this a natural relationship in a family?
Why should that stop? Do we ever get too grown-up to seek advice and support?
If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.
If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself, but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.
Proverbs 16 v 31,32
Throughout the world the wisdom of the elders is respected, appreciated and sought.
But in the West the older generation often feel overlooked and undervalued - even invisible.
When did we swallow the peculiar idea that we should emulate the youth and look for the latest trend among those with the least experience of life?
The church is the family of God, Our Father - with Jesus as the first-born. Within a healthy church there are fathers and mothers, older brothers and sisters, as well as babies and the young in faith.
The glory of young men is their strength,
and the splendour of old men is their grey hair.
Proverbs 20 v 22 NKJV
If you want some advice, who do you go to?
If there is a person of faith that you respect and listen to, that is personally known to you, then you are already living in the wisdom of this article. These are safe people, who we can share a confidence with or confess our sin, knowing that they will never gossip about us, or speak about us behind our backs. They will be honest with us, but also gentle and kind.
A gossip goes round revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.
It is an honour to receive an honest reply
Proverbs 11 v 12 and 24 v 26
Sadly, there are some of us in the West, who have lost these connections. We look to Google for answers, and fill the gap in our personal relationships with motivational coaches and modern-day gurus and the world's prophets.
I'm sure there is wisdom in the world, which we don't need to ignore, but is there no wisdom in the Church of Christ? We have access to the wisdom and perspective of heaven. We have the mind of Christ.
A person's words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.
Proverbs 18 v 4
We are not separate from the world and the world has much to teach us. We can learn from many different teachers, but if we are wise we will always allow the revealed Word of God have the final say.
Every picture I paint, reflects something of who I am.
Every song a musician composes, reveals something of their soul,
every poem, something of the poet's thoughts,
every novel, something of the author's life.
So we can see something of the Creator
As we listen to birdsong, whales or frogs, we catch something of heaven's melodies.
When we watch the dawn, we see the beauty of the Lord.
As we consider the delicate balance in nature, we stand in awe.
When we investigate the path of the planets, we recognise His divine power.
And mankind itself, is made in the image of God.
Humanity and creation are fallen. So we see His reflection as if distorted in a cracked mirror, but we can still glimpse something of his divine nature.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what was made.
from Romans 1 v 20
And we can learn lessons from nature too - for example
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
Proverbs 6 v 6-11
Jesus also taught us to consider nature and to learn from it.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes?
See how the flowers of the field grow.
They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Matthew 6 v 25-30
To conclude we can gain wisdom from listening to advice from older and wiser people and by considering God's creation. Or to say the same thing in another way, God reveals himself through his creation and speaks through others, especially the wise.
Ears that hear and eyes that see - the Lord has made them both
Proverbs 20 v 12
Call of Wisdom - William Todd
Soothing, harmonic, spiritual song, which was composed to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 11
Lyrics by Michael Hampel. Music composed by Will Todd.
Performed by Nigel Short, Tenebrae and the English Chamber Orchestra