Be Smart: Seek Counsel

Several years ago some friends and I decided to take up wakeboarding. We bought a cheap board and took a boat out onto Wheeler Lake. I still remember my friend Jay behind the boat the moment before our first run—totally excited, totally confident. I still remember the next moment, too, the boat dragging Jay face first across the water.

We all found ourselves face first that day, gulping gallons of lake, trying to hang onto the rope long enough to make something, anything happen. One of us made it into a fleeting crouch once. That was the full extent of our success. 

It was a long day.

The next night, Jay called. “You have to come see this,” he said. “Right now.”

Justin and I walked next door at 10:30 at night and found Jay and his wife Hilde in front of the tv watching a wakeboarding video. The guy on the video had no trouble standing up on the board. All four of us stared in wonder as he modeled the proper way to right oneself atop a wakeboard. It was like a light shone from heaven into their living room.

"Aaaaahhhh…" we said. 

The next weekend, all four us stood up on our first or second try. 

I look back at that moment and wonder what we were thinking. We wanted to wakeboard. The natural next step would be to ask someone how to wakeboard. Instead, we decided we’d figure it out on our own. And we spent an entire day drinking lake water.

In less than five minutes of watching that video we learned more than we had all day on the lake.

Fast forward a decade and I’m still trying to figure stuff out on my own—usually with the same non-results. It takes me weeks or months (or years) to learn things I’d have learned in minutes from a wise friend or a good book or, yeah, God. 

But I’m so stubborn and so proud and (sometimes) so lazy that I reject the gift of counsel, waving off the rescue boat as I row my life raft to shore. 

Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

My prayer for all of us today is that we’d seek counsel, that we’d recognize the wisdom all around us and reach out for it.