mmw_baseball_100308_articleTwo players entered high school, both with reputations as great talents. One remained focused on the field and in the classroom, and was later offered the chance to play at the college level. The other went to practice and to class, but worked at neither, instead choosing the distractions afforded to him by the high school social life. He never played past high school.

Proverbs 15:21–“Foolishness brings joy to one without sense, but a man with understanding walks a straight path.”

These two players highlight a universal truth: fools love foolishness and there is a cost to wisdom and success.

With foolishness comes distraction. The fool is the one who cannot keep himself squarely centered on any particular goal; he only does what he cares to do in the moment. Thus, the long term is seen by him as too far away to be considered. Likewise, he believes anyone who does not participate (at least a little) in the natural foolishness of being a young man and sowing some wild oats. Consequently, his life is one distraction after another and he never gets around to doing what he might, in a moment of reflection, admit is truly most important and valuable. He loves his foolishness and living in the moment too much to accomplish anything worth having down the road.

Wisdom has a great cost and a great reward. The young man who wants to be wise and accomplish something worth having later will give up something now, namely the foolishness too often (and sadly) associated with being a young man and sowing wild oats. He will sacrifice the fleeting and temporary pleasures of foolishness and instead walk “a straight path” toward the calling of God on his life. He will have a blast along the way, truly enjoying the life God unfolds before him. And he will be rewarded, since he will live in the will of God, knowing the joy, grace, and forgiveness associated with a life of wisdom. Finally, he will have a life with reduced regret and greater accomplishment than his foolish counterpart.

You can’t have both. Scripture and life both make clear that, in every instance, you and I are operating either with foolishness or with wisdom. There is no way to straddle the fence, since doing so reveals our foolishness. You and I will either have little sense and therefore find joy in foolishness, or we will walk a straight path because of the understanding gained by talking a long walk with Jesus.

Choose wisely. Your life depends on it.

Lord Jesus, my sinful nature, along with the people and world around me, scream for me to find joy in foolishness. Give me your wisdom and your mindset instead. Fill me completely with your Holy Spirit and make mine a straight path. Amen.