Wisdom: A Lesson From History

April 23, 2015
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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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About the author:

Elaine Ingalls Hogg <authorhogg@yahoo.ca>
Smiths Creek, New Brunswick, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Elaine – Amen and amen!

    Truer words have never been spoken. Thanks Elaine.

    Thanks Elaine for sharing this story and take away. Blessings.

    A very good read Elaine. Thanks for sharing. Blessings on your day!

    A big AMEN to that, Elaine. Thank you for a charming story, partnered with sound advice in prayer.

    Oh to be young again! Your words brought back memories of an old car (my first) and the things I had to do to keep it running. It took prayers believe me. God bless.

    Good morning, Elaine:
    What an interesting memory you evoked when you mentioned the 1925 Star. My dad used to tell of driving his boss’s Star car into a river in Quebec. With a bit of help he managed to get it out, and went on his way. They built cars like that back then.

    Good Morning Elaine and thank you for your devotion this morning. I loved it!! But then I love Martimers so when you are from the Martimes, it just has to be good! Seriously, a lovely devotion to start off my day. I am headed to a Seniors Residence to do devotions this afternoon so it resonated with me for sure.
    May God continue to bless you as you share His love with others through your writings.

    Good Morning Elaine:
    I loved, loved, loved your illustration and the great message it brought to we, who oft times rely on our own confidence and make unwise decisions.
    Thank you for alerting me to the fact, even though we grow old, and often think we know all the answers, we too can act out of character and depend on our own judgment, rather than taking our time and depending on the Lord to guide us, landing us, as you so wisely stated, into a pile of trouble.
    Personal illustrations seem to be my favorite devotionals, because it seems we can almost always relate to the incident being presented and learn so much from it.
    Have a great weekend, still bitter cold here on PEI, as I am sure it is in N.B, a wicked winter.

    Lovely story! Hubris is a dangerous thing.

    Dear Elaine,
    A good illustration leading to your prayer which we can all well use.

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