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Devotional: September 8, 2021

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future.

Proverbs 19: 20 NRSV

Attitudes vary toward learning. Some people are eager to learn. Others resist the notion of learning anything new. I can still picture one of my high school classmates, as we were nearing graduation, saying, “I am so ready to be done with school… forever!”

The truth is that we are constantly facing new situations, and circumstances. In order to prepare ourselves for them, Proverbs counsels us to listen to advice, and to accept instruction.

Often, the payoff for learning something new is not immediate. However, that does not mean that learning something new is useless. It simply means that we have not yet found where it fits. The more we learn, the more we will be prepared for the future. Then, when something perplexing comes along, we find ourselves appreciating that newfound bit of knowledge.

Often when I am doing a home DIY project, I may go to the internet for instructions on how to do something specific. There have been a few times where I thought I knew how to fix something, only to discover that I did not. A little prior learning would have saved me time, frustration, and sometimes, even money.

Sometimes we may hear words of wisdom, but think to ourselves, “Well, that’s silly!”, or “I don’t think they know what they are talking about.” Yet when we slow down to listen, and contemplate what we are hearing, we can give it a moment to sink in. Sometimes, other’s wisdom and life-experience can be quite useful to us. Not only time saving, but even life-saving.

Many people into big trouble by assuming they know everything. The expression, “with age, comes wisdom”, holds much truth. Have any of you ever thought, “well, I wish I’d known that?” Learning from others' mistakes gives you wisdom, so that you do not repeat their errors.

Listening to and accepting advice is what this passage is encouraging us to do. Throw in a dose of discernment, a dash of humility, and you may find that life’s road doesn’t have quite as many curves in it.

Prayer

God of all wisdom,

I confess that sometimes, I let prior bad advice prevent me from opening my ears to wise wisdom. I know that this ignorance and arrogance is not the strategy you have offered us for a healthier future. Nurture a teachable spirit within my soul. You are the source of wisdom. Let me learn from You, and from those who place in my life to teach me Your ways, and all knowledge. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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