1 Kings 12:7-8 “And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him.”
There is a common trend I’ve witnessed when talking with folks who have come out of homelessness or deep substance abuse. The coping mechanisms required to find some level of meaning in an otherwise hopeless situation is a sense of familiarity. What I mean by that is even though a person may wonder through the streets subsisting on a survival tactic of finding shelter, safety, and food while ingesting or injecting substances into their system, it is the familiarity and comfort of knowing how to survive through a continuous disaster that harkens them back.
I wondered for years why anyone would be drawn back into a pattern of such neglect and hopelessness, then I realized this mindset of failure that they adopted is one they accepted and feel relegated to walk in. When a man or woman is introduced to the hope that is in Christ Jesus, the first thought is “What can Jesus do for me?” if the gospel message is only about God’s love. This is why it is imperative that when we share the whole gospel, we share it in such a way that gives people a right understanding of God.
Once someone knows why they need to receive Jesus, (not to receive a magic genie that grants them their every wish) but because of sin and the inevitable death that follows those who reject His grace, the transformation that Christ does in a life inevitably follows.
The trouble that follows some people is the struggle in accepting that God has a purpose for their life and will lift them up from the mire to set their feet on solid ground. It is moving from a position of trusting themselves into a position of trusting in God.
You may ask….what does any of this have to do with ruining everything?
In the days of King Solomon, the kingdom of Israel had enjoyed prosperity like no other time in history. It was said that there was so much wealth that…1 Kings 10:27 “The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills.”
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam took over the throne.
All Rehoboam had to do was continue the practices of his father. If he had gained any wisdom from Solomon, now was the time to put it to good use. Instead, Rehoboam decided to disregard the wisdom of the elders and listened to his buddies instead.
1 Kings 12:7 “And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”
What he did was increase the taxes on the people and created hardship. Undoubtedly his pride got in the way and a sense that he could do better than his father created rebellion among the ranks that continued for generations. Once the kingdom was split, it was weakened and then became vulnerable to attack.
Rehoboam ruined the prosperity and success that Solomon had built by quickly forgetting what led to that success.
How do you ruin everything?
- Try to Reinvent the wheel. If someone has gone before you and had success, consider what brought that success. It’s one thing to attempt to refine or slightly improve something but if there has been tremendous success, sticking with the original plan is typically the best policy. Jeremiah 6:16 “This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask for the ancient paths: ‘Where is the good way?’ Then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it!’ There is a common tendency when someone first comes out of college and enters the workforce; they think they have a new solution for making something better. Whether it’s an idea for an invention or a way to improve outcomes, recent students assume no one has ever thought about the idea that they have and they are going to patent the idea while revolutionizing the field. Some of it is naivety and some of it is simply foolishness but in time they realize that there is a reason experience is worth considering before thinking you have a new path that has never been trod.
- Hold onto your pride. I can only speak for what I know and pride in health care is a set up for failure. Act like you are above reproach and you soon make a mistake that erases all doubt. The sense of taking each situation seriously and watching for trouble is the mark of wisdom, humility, and experience. Proverbs 30:13 “There is a generation—how haughty are their eyes and pretentious are their glances.”
Whatever the role is, take anything too lightly and you place yourself or others at risk. I recently met a guy who fell 18 feet from a ladder that wasn’t properly secured. He fractured his back and ruined his career and health for the rest of his life. It doesn’t take much to change the course of your direction.
- Don’t listen to good counsel. For whatever reason he had, Rehoboam chose to listen to his contemporaries than to take sound advice from the learned. The more unfamiliar the environment you find yourself in, the more necessary it is to heed the advice of counsel. If the counsel doesn’t make sense or seems contrary to good judgement, ask someone else who is trustworthy. The question is, would you recognize good counsel if you heard it? Proverbs 14:6 “A mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.” Pray and ask God to give you the wisdom for making the right decision and He might open your eyes to the right person to approach.
- Refuse to accept when your wrong. If you do make a bad decision, it requires humility to accept and reveal to others your mistake. Many hold onto their bad decision even to their own detriment for fear of diminishing themselves before others. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” The first step is humbling yourself before God in repentance and allowing His grace to bring the necessary correction for moving forward. The second step is humbling yourself before others, which when done correctly brings respect and makes you approachable. To those who act like they never make mistakes, it paints an impossible image that doesn’t correlate with truth. Believe it or not, the people that refuse to admit guilt become untrustworthy. Anything or anyone that seems unnatural presents a false image and those who in subjection to that look elsewhere for direction.
The path of wisdom is the path of success. Wisdom always starts with the Lord and cascades into a proper evaluation of life.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Whatever you seek, if it is good, Jesus is at the foundation of it. Try it sometime, name a quality that is superior and work your way both backward and forward through it’s progression….everything begins and end with Christ alone.
Since Jesus is Creator of all that is good…why not start there first in your endeavors? Doesn’t this make sense? All common sense is, is wisdom applied. This is why prayer is a foundational position for any good path. Prayer places the strength of your position at the feet of the Savior.
<Honor Him first in your life and you are well on your way to making good decisions.>