I had finally won a spot in the starting lineup my sophomore year of high school. After a walk in my first plate appearance, I proceeded to go one for my next eleven, including six strikeouts. Fearing I was about to lose the job I worked hard to win, I was desperate.
Proverbs 12:15–“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.”
I wish I could claim that I was so wise as to go immediately to my coach and ask for help. Instead, I was afraid of him, afraid he would conclude I wasn’t any good after all.
He didn’t wait for me to come to him. Taking me aside one day at practice, he told me the truth: what I thought was right wasn’t going to cut it at this level. You see, I had been able to get by on sheer talent in previous years. Now, at a higher level of baseball, adjustments were needed. I could keep doing it my way–and keep striking out, eventually finding myself back on the bench–or I could commit to doing things his way. Thankfully, wisdom won out in that moment–I made the necessary adjustments and went on to have a decent year at the plate.
Striking out in baseball pales in comparison to the hole we dig when we are bent on doing things our own way. The problem is that we don’t know our way is foolish and wrong until it’s too late. Until our decisions have cost us a relationship, cost us our eligibility, cost us a spot on the team, cost us our future, cost us more than we ever wanted to give.
Fools, as the verse says, never stop to ask for help and direction. They assume they’ll just figure it out in the end. They’re arrogant enough to think they have all the answers. We’ve all been there.
The “wise man,” on the other hand, listens to godly advice and direction.
Some application for us today:
Identify who has wisdom you need. If the way of the fool is right in his own eyes, he never sees that anyone has any wisdom to give him. Instead, both on and off the field, take note of the people who have more life experience, who know the Bible, who have deep faith in Jesus, who aren’t talking just to hear themselves speak, whose words give life to those who hear them.
Do all you can to be around them. You might only know them from a distance–close the gap. Introduce yourself, ask a question, listen when they speak to others. You might not know them at all–listen to a podcast, a sermon, a talk. You might know them well–listen again to those parents, friends, coworkers, siblings, pastors.
Always assume there’s more to learn. About the game. About life. About Jesus. About yourself. Assume there’s more to learn, because there is.
Lord Jesus, stay on me to seek out godly wisdom. Please put people in my life who will show me how to live. Amen.