Motivational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones is known for saying, “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
Numerous preachers have said something on the order, “Show me your closest friends and I will show you who you are becoming.”
Solomon tells us how to capitalize on becoming like those we are closest to in Proverbs 13:20, when he says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
How can we be more intentional about being near wise people? Here are seven ways:
1. Make friends with a wise person: I have a friend who has added substantial wisdom to my life. He and I met through a church relationship, and I instantly liked his candid, straightforward approach to conversationsand his friendly demeanor. As he and I began to meet occasionally for coffee, I learned that he is also a source of wisdom. More than once, he has helped me think through complicated situations and see a path forward. Every Christian should look for wise friends. You will know them by the fruit of their life.
2. Read books authored by wise people: I love reading about leadership and recently picked up a copy of Dr. Albert Mohler’s The Conviction to Lead. The book contains 25 principles for leadership to apply to your life. The wisdom lessons contained in this book are too numerous to mention. If you are fortunate enough to be acquainted with wise people who have also authored books, you can be near wise people by reading their books.
3. Watch videos about gaining wisdom: A simple Google search or YouTube scan will yield thousands of video lessons. Discovering good and helpful videos is another way to access wisdom. I occasionally watch videos by Dr. Henry Cloud, who seeks to connect his faith to wisdom insights. Spending time with one or two of these videos each week may prove to be another source of wisdom for the growing follower of Jesus.
4. Search for articles written by wise leaders: Dr. Jeff Iorg is a blessing to Southern Baptists as a wise and conscientious leader of Gateway Seminary. Dr. Iorg, like others, writes blogposts that contain wisdom nuggets to be considered and put into practice. Blogposts or articles are easily accessible and another way to be near wise people whom we may never meet otherwise.
5. Listen to podcasts of wise ministers: I spend dozens of hours on the road each month and, to make effective use of those hours, I subscribe to several podcasts. One of my favorites is the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. Ron brings insights from his time leading in business, the local church and non-profits. It never fails that I discover a wise leadership tip after listening to Ron.
6. Search the scriptures for wise believers: One obvious place for the believer to discover wisdom is to read the Bible. We can there meet hundreds of people who made wise and unwise choices. We not only discover wisdom from observing their lives, but we also have the Proverbs. A friend of mine reads one chapter of Proverbs every day to be in contact with wise counsel.
7. Find the wise people in your church: Jimmy Stallons was a deacon in two churches I pastored. Jimmy sold cars for a living, but his life was about living for the Lord. Jimmy had wisdom about various situations that I could only dream of having. During our time together I would go to Jimmy with specific questions and leave with a wiser course of action than I otherwise would have had. If you look around your church family, you will discover a wise person you can spend time with.
When it comes to wisdom, I identify with Agur in Proverbs 30:2 who said, “Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.” Even though I am slow to learn and need more effort than the average person, I can say confidently that my life has been enriched immeasurably by spending time with wise people. What are you doing to learn wisdom?