Walking With The Wise

Last night after church, I spent some time chatting with my pastor’s wife. Every time I have a conversation with her, I walk away thinking, “Wow! That was a lot of wisdom.” She often shares her thoughts on what they’ve learned in decades of ministry. When it comes to learning, you can go out and do it the hard way or you can find someone who’s been there and done that and listen. I try to soak in as much as I can when I’m around her because I know the best way to get wisdom is to be around wise people.

Most of us don’t take the time to stop and listen to others who have gone on ahead of us. We think we know the best way and that their way is outdated. The truth is, the trail of life is the same, just the scenery has changed. People are still people and do what they’ve done for centuries. Those who are older than us or who have gone down paths that we’re on have wisdom to share, but we rarely want to hear it.

I like to talk. Ok I love to talk and I’m not afraid to strike up an hour long conversation with a complete stranger. What I’m not great at is listening. I’m not sure how many of us really are. What I’ve learned is that listening is more important than talking especially when someone is trying to pour out wisdom into your life. It’s difficult for me to stay quiet and to not try to jump in when someone else is talking. I’ve noticed that when I do that, the conversation leaves it’s original intention and heads down bunny trails.

I don’t think bunny trails are bad, but when I cause them, I miss out on valuable insight from someone willing to give it. James 1:19 tells us we should be quick to listen and slow to speak. There’s a saying in sales that I love. It says, “No one ever listened themselves out of a sale.” Our mouths are what get us in trouble and keep us from learning. James understood that. He followed that verse up with the thoughts that it’s not enough to just listen. We have to go do what we’ve learned after we’ve listened.

Applying wisdom is another difficult thing. We have the mentality that our way is the right way. We think, “That was good for their path, but this is good for my path.” We have to learn how to take the wisdom that someone gives us and then apply it to our lives in a way that keeps us from learning the hard way. I’ve learned plenty of lessons from the School of Hard Knocks. I prefer the School of Shut Up, Listen and Learn. It’s a lot less painful.

Solomon said, “If you want to be wise, walk with the wise” in Proverbs 13:20. To me, that means we need to spend time with those who have more wisdom than we do. Take time today to think of someone in your life who has tried to give you wisdom, but you’ve failed to listen to or have distracted the conversation. Find a way to sit and spend an hour or so with them on a regular basis. Take notes on the conversation and write down questions instead of interrupting them. Your life will become better for it and I can attest that it will be a lot less painful.


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4 responses to “Walking With The Wise

  1. Alonso Pedroza

    I am blessed to be a personal trainer. Most of my clients are older than me and assuming they can afford training their successful in life. Throught these four years as a trainer I have grown spiritually, mentally and mature fast. At first I was very uncomfortable talking to people so what I did was mainly listen and asked questions. I did not want to be put in the “spot” and talk about myself. Thru the years I’ve opened up more and I see now the benefits of that. If I open up others will too. Their is always a reason why people quit on their diet or on themselves. I could never get the reasons why until I started opening up to my clients. Now I can help my clients even more since they are comfortable enough to tell me the reasons.
    I talk to my clients about my life for three reasons: 1. So they can give me advice. 2. So I can get them to tell me about theirs. 3. Develop a strong and trustworthy relationship
    Most of clients tell me I am a 40 something year old stuck inside a 24 year old body. They say I am very mature and I have a lot of wisdom. I tell them, it is God and them that help me get to how I am and God for giving me great listening skills.
    It is hard for me to spark up conversations, I much rather listen and ask questions. I listen closely to what people say so I can spark a conversation next time I see them.
    I much rather learn from others than from life. I try as much as I can to get more wisdom everyday. Thank God their is no limit on the amout we can learn.

    • Keep gaining those life experience years from your clients. You’ll live longer if you learn from others rather than from the hard way. I know you’ve learned some lessons the hard way. Share that wisdom with others on that road.
      I love your last statement: thank God there is no limit on the amount we can learn. Amen!

  2. jonstallings

    It seems the more I try and read and study from those that have gone before me, i find that I need to learn a lot more. Like said – applying the wisdom is the hard part.

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