You can choose to run with the turkeys, but wouldn’t you rather fly with the eagles?
That’s why some people have a myriad of degrees after their names, make six-figure salaries, and are the life of the party but can be failures in the life of their families. There are those who are educated, but they’re not wise. And there are those who are very poor, but not wise as well.
“Spend time with the wise and you will become wise, but the friends of fools will suffer.” -Proverbs 13:20.
There is a tried-and-true saying that goes: “If you want to soar with the eagles, you can’t run with the turkeys!”
As we move on in our life journeys, we are far better off if we recognize the value of that wisdom.
What it is telling us is that if we want excellence - if we desire to strive for greatness - we must immerse ourselves in the presence of excellence all around us. I have always appreciated those who exhibited intellectual curiosity - those who want to know the “why.”
My wife Vanessa and I both enjoy challenging ourselves and each other, and we are not afraid of entertaining points of view that differ from our own. It stimulates growth - and wisdom insists that we don’t stay stagnant - that we grow. Wisdom doesn’t occur in a vacuum; it is acquired in so many ways - life experiences, reading our Bibles, practical application, spiritual discernment, and so much more.
Wisdom is also acquired by one’s ability to listen to those he or she trusts. If you are going to be a good husband, wife, father, daughter, or friend, you have to surround yourself with wise counsel. You cannot be too thin-skinned for criticism. None of us “gets it right” every single time, and we all have blind spots.
You don’t necessarily need a lot of friends, but you do need that one or two or three who understand your heartbeat and who will tell you the truth and be there for you.
For married folks, ideally one of those is your spouse who will lovingly let you know when you’re right - and lovingly but firmly let you know when you’re wrong. But most definitely will be there for you through the thick and thin of life.
On the contrary, none of us enjoy being around Norman and Nancy Negative – folks who have nothing good to say about anything. If the sky is blue, somehow they just have to point out the streaks of gray.
We all need people who will build us up, not tear us down—people who are wise, not foolish. There is no individual alive who can truly grow without community. You cannot grow in wisdom all by yourself.
Wisdom is really all about love, isn’t it? Wisdom, or its lack, shows up most prominently in our relationships. That’s why some people have a myriad of degrees after their names, make six-figure salaries, and are the life of the party but can be failures in the life of their families. There are those who are educated, but they’re not wise. And there are those who are very poor, but not wise as well.
On a recent vacation cruise, Vanessa and I were reminded that it’s so much easier walking down flights of stairs than it is going up those same flights. Same stairs but an entirely different approach.
Likewise, it’s always easier for somebody to push you down than to pull you up. People who push you down are not really your friends. Your friends pull you up - or are not afraid to tell you that you need to get up and get moving! Friends encourage you in your pursuit of godly wisdom by offering their own. They share their own experiences in hopes of helping you find your way. Frank Sinatra’s signature song “My Way” was all wrong. We are best served if we seek to do things God’s way, not our own.
Like me, perhaps God has “tenderized” your heart over the years. What is your response when you talk to someone, perhaps a family member who has been unemployed for a long period of time and struggles to make ends meet? Well, you may choose to help them but you should also ask a lot of questions.
You ask questions not to accuse or find reasons to dismiss legitimate needs, but so you can do your best to help them. Tossing money at a problem may simply be a case of treating the symptom rather than getting at the root cause of the matter. Wisdom dictates that you recognize that sometimes God allows a person to reach rock bottom in order for them to realize that He needs to be the center of their lives.
It must have been 15 years ago, but I’ll never forget a powerful sermon I heard from an old preacher. He talked about the years-long struggle he and his wife had with trying to rehabilitate his drug-addicted son. His son’s struggle had caused them many restless nights and they had shed rivers of tears.
The dad finally had enough. He decided to leave his son’s fate in God’s hands. He said to the congregation, “I just told God I can’t do anything more. I can’t fix it! If he goes to hell, he goes to hell. I’m taking my hands off the wheel - we can’t both steer!”
It was startling to hear that admission, but we understood. Well, today that son is thriving in ministry, a recipient of God’s healing power and amazing grace. It is hard to let go of the rope but sometimes we have to let it go. (And no, every story does not have such a happy ending.)
We should always seek to help the needy, but we must be wise in how we assist others. It could be that by failing to do our due diligence, we delay or oppose God’s efforts to get to them. We can actually make their life worse. But of course – always seek to do good by others!
James 3:13 tells us “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”
Do good. And remember that it’s perfectly okay to spend time with the turkeys. But always remember that turkeys don’t fly - but eagles do!