Tuesday, 18 June 2019

C Columns

Wisdom Comes From Many Counselors

By  Daniel  Bobinski 

Recently I posted an open question on Facebook: “What would you do if you won the lottery?” As you might guess, responses ran the gamut. “Tithe.” “Get out of debt.” “Set up a college fund for the kids.” I chose a different route. I said I would find two accountants who didn't like each other and hire them both. The result? I’d never have any accounting errors, there’d never be any embezzlement, and each would do a wonderful job of identifying any flaws in the other's recommendations.

It’s a similar concept to what Abraham Lincoln did after he was elected President. As described in the book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” Lincoln brought together some rather resentful and disharmonious individuals and assembled one of the most unusual cabinets in Presidential history. Although they rarely got along, they gave Lincoln their raw and straightforward opinions, which he could then sift and sort and make the decisions he needed to navigate one of our country’s most turbulent times.

Had Lincoln surrounded himself with nothing but yes-men, I doubt he would have received enough information to make wise choices.

By the way, in no way am I claiming to be on par with Lincoln. I just think it’s wise to do what wise people have done. After all, there’s that little verse in the Scriptures that says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”

Years ago I used to sit on the board of directors for a non-profit organization. There were about 14 people on this board, and we met once a month or so. In short order I noticed one individual was always negative.

No matter what was being discussed, this guy was a total naysayer. “That will never work. Here’s what’s wrong with that idea... That won’t work either, here’s why...” Every time the guy talked, he was negative.After several months of observing this I went to the executive director of the non-profit and said, “Why do you have this guy on the board? He is nothing but negative about anything that gets discussed.” The executive’s response was classic: “That’s exactly why I keep him around. He points out everything I need to do so that our plans can succeed.” Twenty years later I still remember that man’s response, and I value his wisdom. After all, plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.

Think about it. Companies hire consultants and have boards of directors. Athletes, actors, and singers have coaches. And so do successful business people, too. Even in 1624, the English author John Donne penned the now-famous line, “No man is an island” as he highlighted the interconnectedness of humanity.

What about you?

If you are a born-again follower of Jesus, you are a child of the Living God, who is the Creator of all heaven and earth. Aren’t you deserving of counselors? The answer is a resounding yes. After all, Barnabas mentored Paul, and then Paul mentored Timothy while having Silas as a ministry partner. No man is an island. As the writer of Hebrews tells us, “... let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I was abundantly blessed to have a mentor in my life nearly 30 years ago. The late Alex Goodman spoke much wisdom into my life, both by word and example. So much so that I decided to make a career out of coaching and training others in the principles that Alex taught. And, over the years, I’ve tried to practice what I preach by asking other people to speak into my life. When I maintain that practice, things tend to go well. When I let it slip, my life tends to show it!

This past year I spent much time in prayer about this and God responded abundantly. Now I have four people that I meet with at varying levels of frequency and in varying capacities. I’m pretty sure these folks have been sent by God to partner with me in specific areas, and if I told you why I believe that, you’d be nodding your heads, too.

Christ’s last command was for us to make disciples. That’s a mentoring process, but I have to say, I think the modern church does a horrible job of it. Show up on Sunday morning. Shake hands. Sing worship songs. Listen to a sermon. Shake hands some more and talk with acquaintances. Maybe do a Sunday school class or have a meal together. This is not making disciples. I’m not saying don’t do this. I’m saying wisdom comes from many counselors. Wiser decisions are possible when people who know you well are able to ask you pressing, pertinent, challenging questions about your life, and do so in more private, confidential settings.

What if you added (or occasionally substituted) things like the writer of Hebrews suggested? Meeting in smaller groups of three or four families, spurring one another on toward love and good deeds? Or encouraging one another in the areas that God has gifted you?

Or what if you identified one or two key people and met for coffee once a week, either as a group or one-on-one? Or every other week? It doesn’t even have to be face-to-face, it can be over the phone.

Want some motivation? I won’t ask what you would do if you won the lottery. I’ll ask you the same question the Holy Spirit asked me: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Remember that one little verse. Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.

Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. teaches teams and individuals how to use Emotional Intelligence, and he blogs regularly on that topic at www.eqfactor.net. He’s also a homeschooling dad, a home fellowship leader, a best-selling author, and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 208-375-7606.

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