While there are some posts on facebook with pictures and crude language that make me cringe, there are many wonderful connections with friends and brethren, as well as some thought-provoking ideas.
Recently my former college classmate, Debbie Vance Hendrix, shared these wonderful words of advice from the 20th-century inspirational author William A. Ward.
Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.
One writer called Ward’s words “Ethics for Life.” These nine axioms have a decidedly Biblical basis. God’s Book of wisdom offers this sound counsel.
“The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps” (Prov 14:8).
“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles” (Prov 21:23).
“He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him” (Prv. 18:13).
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Prov 22:7).
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Prov 21:5).
“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Prov 19:2).
Blogger Angela Ruth was right when she wrote, “It is all too easy to act on impulse; to do what comes naturally without consideration of neither the potential consequences, nor the reason for why we are doing the action in the first place.”
“Sure, it can be fun to fly by the seat of one’s pants,” Ruth admits “but to live your entire life like this will certainly have devastating outcomes.”
Acting hastily is often fueled by impatience. We grow weary of waiting. We react instead of respond. We seek instant gratification, instead of practicing self-denial.
There are many situations where David’s advice would serve us well. “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Ps 27:14).
Patience, forethought, and prudence provide for us the ability to think, listen, and learn before acting recklessly and rashly. These are qualities of Christian character and maturity. An old Arabic proverb states that “Patience is the key of joy; but haste is the key to sorrow.”
The old adage “Look before you leap” will help curb impulsive decisions and actions that could hurt you physically, financially, relationally, and even spiritually.
Furthermore, Ward’s advice reminds us that before we can be successful in any endeavor in life, including our spiritual pursuits, some things must precede the desired goal. Proper preparation, dogged determination, and selfless service are key ingredients to a life well lived and pleasing to God.
The danger of reckless, impulsive and impetuous living can be summed up in the warning by Robert Greene: “Hasty climbers have sudden falls.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman