Proverbs 14:8 – The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track; the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch. (MSG)
My dad was smiling when I went to visit him recently at the nursing home.
"What are you thinking about?" I asked.
"Well, it's funny the things that come into your mind when you have a lot of time on your hands and not much to do," he replied. "I was just remembering an incident from my childhood. When I was six or seven, my dad and my oldest brother bought a car for the family, a 1925 Star, I think it was. After the car got older, the brakes were not reliable and often gave out. Hartford, my oldest brother, handled the car with ease. Even when the brakes began to cause trouble, he learned how to gear down and coast down our lane. Just before he reached our house, he turned the steering wheel sharply, which slowed the car enough so that he could make the turn and arrive parked in the garage.
"Up to this time, my dad, Frank, had always parked in the yard when the brakes were acting up, but he couldn't be outdone by his son, so the next time when the brakes gave out as he was coming down our lane, he headed for the garage just like he had seen his son do. But the results of his trip were a far cry from those of Hartford's. On my dad's journey, the two wheels went down into the oil pit, the steering wheel ended up in his lap, and the front lights and bumper went out the back wall of the garage."
This story from my family's history made me smile, too. Although my grandfather had died before I was born, I was familiar with the lane that he went down, and I could picture the whole event in my mind. More importantly, the story reminded me of a verse in the Bible that speaks of why it is important to write down and share the lessons that we have learned from history.
1 Corinthians 10:11-12 – These are all warning markers — DANGER! — in our history books, written down so that we don't repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel — they at the beginning, we at the end — and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don't be so naive and self-confident. You're not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it's useless. Cultivate God-confidence. (MSG)
Although my dad's memory was humorous, it did serve as an important reminder. In life, we have choices. We can act out of our own self-confidence and land in a pile of trouble, or we can seek God's confidence, avoid mistakes, and make wise decisions.
Prayer: Dear God, so often, we make foolish mistakes because we have been too self-confident and have followed our own way. Help us always to seek Your direction and to cultivate God-confidence. Amen.
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