I have never been a real music collector, but find songs that resonate with me. I have had a few tracks, vinyl albums, cassette tapes, cd’s, and mp3’s over the the past five decades. Various artists, sacred and secular, have written songs that captured my attention and helped me process an event, season, or stage of life. One example is songwriter and musician Bob Dylan and a song he wrote called “I Threw It All Away.”
After an early and bumbling dating relationship that disintegrated, Dylan’s words hit me like a brick in the face: “I must have been mad, I never knew what I had, until I threw it all away.” It captured my sense of failure and pain. I listened to it for months and replayed my mistakes in my mind, wishing I had understood its meaning before making such a stupid error.
That incident, and many others like it, taught me early on in life that many have already navigated the ups and downs of life. A gifted and/or reflective few have charted their experience in words that could help me learn so I have been on the lookout for stories, quotes, and insights that could assist me in determining various courses of behavior. Choices that did not just make sense, but were beneficial morally and ethically, and helped me make a difference in the world.
My parents modeled the value of living life well, that good was better than evil, character more critical than mere performance, and your word should mean something. The seasoned experience of my folks (and other relatives) impacted me since I saw the fruit of such lessons in their lives.
Read Proverbs 2:1-11.
The Bible’s Book of Proverbs also has the ring of time-tested experience. These are not the ramblings of ivory tower mystics, but the wise conclusions of real life practitioners who have walked the same path many of us face today. All of us struggle with issues of competence in the marketplace, relational conflicts, fear, isolation, loneliness, sexuality, money, identity, guidance, etc. Not amazingly, you’ll discover the writers of Proverbs have a word from the Lord on the core kinds of questions we face today.
Listen to Proverbs 2:9: “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.” Through these spiritual sound bites, God Almighty promises to help us find our way in a loud, noisy, distracting, ultra-competitive society. That is, if we will take the time to listen and heed His advice. Proverbs 2:6 says, “The Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:11 reads, “Discretion will protect you, and understand will guard you.” Notice the “if” of verses 1, 3, 4, and the “then” of verses 5, 9.
Can you see the value of considering a proverb a day for a week, a month, or even a semester? For the next week, try reading the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the day on the calendar. Choose a phrase or verse that speaks to your need, concern, or question. Then write it down and ponder it throughout the day. Ask God to show you His will regarding the situation facing you. The promise of God in Proverbs 2:10 is, “wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”
Serve globally. Our world needs wise people. Whether you are on campus or in the marketplace, and regardless of the guidance needed, remember that a proverb a day keeps foolishness away.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz