7 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Joshua 24:1-33
Luke 21:1-28
Psalm 89:38-52
Proverbs 13:20-23

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Proverbs 13:20 (CSB): “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

I love the following quote:

“Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others.” – Otto von Bismarck

Sure, we learn from our mistakes and experiences. But, life is too short to learn that way.

Quite a few years back, I discovered the joy of meeting with men who were farther down the road than I was who had a wealth of experience. I would take them out to eat and pick their brains. (This post will be more of a personal documentary to demonstrate that I have credibility when I encourage you to “walk with the wise.”)

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Pastor Wallace York

At the first church I pastored (Donaldson Baptist Church in Princeton, Kentucky), I was clueless. While I had a Bachelor’s Degree and many hours completed toward my Master’s Degree, nothing really prepares you for your first pastorate. You just have to hop up on the horse and hope you don’t get thrown.

But, I was able to gain an incredible amount of wisdom very quickly as I met with a retired pastor named Wallace York. There were lessons I didn’t have to learn on my own because I was learning them from him.

While Bro. Wallace has been with his Lord for many years, I continue to be indebted to him for his wisdom and interest in me. While I have not yet “arrived,” I am convinced that I’m a much better pastor than I would have been had it not been for Bro. Wallace’s wisdom and our times together.

While pastoring in central Florida, I scheduled a lunch meeting with Pastor Ken Whitten. While we ate lunch at Chili’s, I picked his brain about church growth, resolving church conflict, and other such things. We even talked about our mutual admiration for Pastor Adrian Rogers.

On another occasion, I took Pastor Willie Rice out to lunch. I asked him specifically what steps he would take to turn a church around. I’ll never forget his words: “Give them a compelling vision.” It was from him that I began to read about and discover the power of vision. (I have learned since then that a vision can get people excited but you had better have the resources and machinery in place to make it happen and the tenacity to push ahead, particularly when times get tough.)

I remember another time when I got an invitation from our Director of Missions to join a group of 5 other pastors to spend about 4 hours with Pastor Jim Henry. That meeting was priceless! I got to hear how he led a thriving church (FBC Orlando), how he balanced his private life with his public life, how he prepared for sermons, and so much more! About 5 years ago, after moving to Kentucky, I looked for the notes I took during that meeting and couldn’t find them. They had been lost during our move to Kentucky. That was a massive loss!

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Pastor Jay Dennis

There was also a time when my world was turned upside-down when a fellow staff member was accused of having sex with some minors. I had no clue how to navigate the the church through that. Most pastors don’t. So, I set up a meeting with Pastor Jay Dennis, who had recently navigated his own church through something similar. I am convinced that the hour and a half lunch meeting, and the following texts and e-mails, helped me to gain the wisdom to navigate my church through the ordeal and come out much better off than if I had simply tried to lead with my own limited wisdom.

But, I also realized that there was much to be gained in meeting with a pastor/leader on a regular basis. Each month, I met with a man named Rick Blythe in Clermont, FL, to get his counsel on various issues concerning my public and private roles. I also met weekly with a fellow pastor in Brooksville, Matt Everhard, as we discussed what God was doing in our lives and our churches and we provided counsel (feed-back) to each other.

When I moved to Kentucky, I continued this habit. I met with Pastor Dan Summerlin over lunch. I took a lengthy list of questions and spent our lunchtime listening to his answers. That was about 4-5 years ago. I made some adjustments in how I do things as a result of that meeting that I continue to this day.

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Pastor Kent Workman

And I wouldn’t give anything for my time with Pastor Kent Workman. We meet each month at Cracker Barrel in Cadiz, Kentucky. Sometimes I will bring a list of questions, desiring to hear his wisdom on the matter. At other times, it is just a debriefing session. All I can say is that I am incredibly indebted to Kent for giving me the time (he doesn’t have much of it) and wisdom (he has plenty of it). I am a better man for my time with him.

On and on I could go to demonstrate that I love the principle found in Proverbs 13:20. I believe that while I have made many mistakes and missteps, I have made far fewer mess-ups because of my time with men who were much, much wiser than I was.

Proverbs 13:20 (CSB): “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Friend, let me encourage you to think about who you are and what your roles are. Now, follow these steps:

  • Ask yourself the question: “In what areas do I need counsel and wisdom?”
  • Begin to think of who is doing much better than you are in your area of concern.
  • Compile a list of questions and personal concerns that you want to discuss during a meeting.
  • Schedule the meeting (pay for their lunch if it’s a lunch meeting).
  • Enjoy walking with the wise.

Finally, I will provide a link to a song (released June 1992) that came to mind as I was writing this post. Enjoy.