Doing the right thing, the right way

                Someone once said that good decisions come from experience, while experience comes from bad decisions.

                While I would not cite this humorous anecdote as being divinely inspired, there is a verse in the Bible that seems to succinctly illustrate this idea.

                Proverbs 24:27 reads, Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house (NIV).

                King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, points out in this verse that not only are there critical things that need to be done, but there is an order in which they should be done.

                But as we consider the gift of another year in which to work, live and accomplish the Lord’s will in, how can we accomplish our daily activities with wisdom?

                I, for one, want to be as wise as I can since I have already made enough unwise decisions throughout my life!

              How should we be wise? Consider the following:

Personal finance

                One area that looms large in the minds of many is personal finance. Proverbs 27:23–27 exhorts us to be wise with our resources. I like to ask myself a few questions: How can I more wisely spend and save the financial resources God has entrusted to me? And, are there any purchases that could be delayed or rescheduled in relation to my work situation? (See our opening Proverb on this point.)

                One very helpful tool is a personal budget.

              Now, admittedly, creating a budget is not difficult for me since I earn a living as a financial analyst. However, if you need help constructing a simple budget, there are several great books and internet resources that can help. If you get really stuck, a personal financial advisor can provide assistance.

Relationships with others

Our relationships with others are gifts from God that should not be taken for granted. But relationships also require wisdom, especially in what we say and how we say it.

                I like to ask the Lord to bring new relationships into my life and to strengthen and deepen the ones I have now. Relationships take time and commitment to cultivate, but they’re worth it!

                In the past, I have spent much of my time sharpening my mind and understanding of God’s Word. However, I have noticed a shift in recent years. Now, healthy relationships have taken almost center stage in my life, second only to my relationship with the Lord.

              Ponder this: After you pass on, will your friends and family remember you for how much time you spent at work or gaining head knowledge … or for how much you loved them and spent time cultivating relationships with them? If relationships are important to God, how much more should they be to us?

Time well spent

                A third asset to use wisely is our time. How we use our time greatly influences how well we manage money and relationships.

                I am continually amazed at how calmly and smoothly Jesus used the time He was given. Nowhere do the Gospel narratives depict Him as being in a hurry or falling behind the Father’s will. He was always in step with the Father, always making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16).

              The best way to manage our time is to stay in step with the Lord, as well. Viewing time as a gift to be utilized rather than a disposable asset to be thrown away will influence us to use it wisely.

Our relationship with God

                The most important aspect of our lives is our relationship with the Lord. It is here that wisdom shines brightest.

                Proverbs 1:7 says The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

                The apostle Paul wrote that we should understand what the Lord’s will is (Ephesians 5:17).

                Here, then, is the blessing of wisdom: Proverbs 1:7 teaches us that wisdom begins to grow in us as we first determine to fear God more than all others; Ephesians 5:17 tells us that we can then use the wisdom God has given us to better understand how He works.

                In fact, how we pursue our relationship with God will be directly reflected in how we manage every other area of our life. That is, if He is truly our King and God, then our reverence for Him should be seen in how we manage our finances, spend our time and treat others around us.

              As we embark upon a new year of opportunities to serve and walk with God, let us take advantage of the time we have and use wisdom in what we do. Ask the Lord to show you how you can do things better with your time, money and resources. As you become wiser, you will experience the joy that comes with wisdom and understanding in all that you do.

Allen can be reached at [email protected].

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