A very successful executive was having a retirement party from his company. He had been there a long time and the company had grown because of his wise leadership. He was respected by all the employees and even his business competitors. One junior executive pulled him aside and asked him the secret to his success. His simple answer “I’ve made some very good decisions for our company.” Wow! Then the junior executive asked him how he learned to make such good decisions. He responded, “I’ve made some very bad decisions for our company.”
To be a strong Christian, you need to make good, wise decisions.
Strong Christians make wise decisions.
Decision-making is difficult. You don’t always know if you’re making a good decision or not. In Luke 7:29-35 we discover insights into making wise decisions. We will have to dig a little into the text to discover the truths God has for us.
“And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children.” (Luke 7:29-35)
In this passage we have 3 groups of 2s. 2 preachers, 2 responses, 2 groups of children.
2 Preachers: John the Baptist fasted and kept to himself and they thought he was crazy. Jesus ate and drank with sinners and they thought he was alcoholic.
2 Responses to John’s preaching: the publicans believed and were baptized. The Pharisees rejected and refused to be baptized.
2 groups of children: some wanted a funeral song and others wanted a wedding song. Neither were happy.
The summary statement of this passage is: Wisdom is justified of all her children (v. 35). What does this mean? What does it have to do with John, Jesus or the children. How does it explain strength by wisdom?
An understanding of the word “justify” is important to gain the teaching of this principle of wisdom. “Justify” means ‘to make something right’. You can find an example of ‘justify’ on the paragraph setting of your computer. Your computer can add space between words so that both edges of a paragraph are lined up.
Biblically.”justify” it means to make something right. Romans 5:1 tells us that “being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” A person is made right with God by trusting Jesus as Savior. Sins are taken away and the righteousness of Jesus is imputed. In our humanity, we all “fall short of the glory of God.” Like a line in a paragraph, we don’t line up with God. But we are justified by faith through Jesus.
But to understand how wisdom is justified, we need to look at how “justify” is used earlier in this passage. Luke 7:29 states “…the publicans justified God, being baptized…” Rather than God justifying sinners, sinners were justifying God. Rather than making God right, the publicans were proving God right by admitting their sin and being baptized. The purpose of a believer is to prove God is right.
So, what does it mean “wisdom is justified of her children”? It means that wisdom is proven right by those who make wise choices. Everybody in this passage was making a choice. Jesus states that the wisdom of a choice will be proven by those who make the wise choice.
Strong Christians make wise choices.
A wise choice is always evident. Over time, the wisdom of a choice is proven by the results of that choice in the lives of those who make the wise choice.
In this passage, we can gather some good counsel for making wise choices?
1 – Does it prove God right?
Does our choice and action justify God? God has given us instruction in the Bible. If we follow it and He honors His Word, it will prove He is right. It may not seem like a wise choice at the moment, but it will eventually.
2 – What is the long term consequence?
Whatever choice you make, you need to visualize how it will play out over time. Ask the worst/best case scenario of your decision over the course of several years? Will you be glad you did this when your children are grown?
We also discover some questions that are not vital. We often ask these questions first. They are somewhat important. But not the first questions we should ask.
1 – Do I like it?
All things being equal, this is an okay question to ask. But it is an unwise first question because likes change. We tend to be fickle like the children in this story. What seems like a good idea now, ends up a bad idea later.
2 – What does everybody else think?
The crowd is often wrong and will lead us to make choices we would never have made on our own. It’s good to seek wise, godly counsel and consider the input from people who care about us. But it is unwise to be influenced by the opinions of others that may conflict with what God wants.
Everyday has a new set of choices. The question is: will we make a wise choice or a foolish choice. A wise choice will consider if it proves God right and the long-term consequences. A foolish choice majors on if I like it and what others think of my choice.
Strong Christians make wise choices.
Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? In 1963 Edward Lorenz attended the NY Academy of Science and had an idea. Could a butterfly in China move its wings, moving molecules of air that would cause a reaction that over time and space would cause a hurricane or tornado in New Mexico. Of course he was laughed at. But 30 years later it became law. It is called the “law of sensitive dependence upon initial conditions”. A single action can cause a reaction on the other side of the world over time and space. This means every choice you make matters. Consider the following sequence of events.
Norman Borlog became Peter Jenning’s “Person of the Week” because it was calculated that his work of hibernating corn and wheat for arid climates saved the lives of 2 billion people. He was
Yet, Henry Wallace, vice president under Franklin Roosevelt, created a station in Mexico whose sole purpose was to research hibernating corn and wheat for arid climates and hired Norman Borlog to run it. So maybe Henry Wallace should have been “Person of the Week.”
But when George Washington Carver was 19 and attending Iowa State University his dairy science professor allowed his 6 year old son, Henry Wallace, to go on botanical expeditions with Carver and became interested in what plants. Maybe George Washington Carver should have been “Person of the Week.”
But a farmer in Missouri named Moses, didn’t believe in slavery in a slave state. One January night marauders came through a town and drug off a black woman, Mary Washington, who refused to let go of her son, George. Mary was Moses’ wife’s best friend. So, Moses took his last horse several hours north in Kansas to trade for this little boy. As he walked him home, he promised to raise him as his own, his mother was dead. Moses Carver adopted him as his own son and gave him his last name, Carver. Maybe Moses Carter, a Missouri farmer, should have been “Person of the Week.”
You could go on and on back in history about choices made that ultimately saved 2 billion people. We can also go far into the future to see the influence of our daily choices on generations after us.
Everything you do matters.Every choice is important. Make wise choices today.