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I recently read a story about a chief of the Sioux nation, a wise old man, who once lived in what is now the state of Minnesota. It was during the Fall of the year that a group of young braves sought out his advice concerning the coming winter.
“O great chief,” they asked, “will the winter this year be a mild one or will it be very harsh with extreme frigid temperatures?”
Not rightly knowing how to predict the weather, the old chief replied that the winter was going to be very cold and that the members of his tribe should go out and collect wood in order to be prepared for difficult times.
Being a responsible leader, the old man then went into his tepee and called the National Weather Service on his cell phone.
“Sir,” he asked, “is this winter going to be cold or will we be blessed with mild weather due to the effect of global warming that I hear so much about?”
The weatherman responded,
“Chief, this winter is most certainly going to be very cold; that you can count on.”
The old patriarch went out to his people and encouraged them to speed up their collection of even more wood in order to be prepared for the coming Minnesota winter. A week later, wanting to cover all of his bases, the chief called the National Weather Service again, and inquired, “are you very sure that it’s going to be a really cold winter?”
“Oh yes,” came the answer, “it’s going to be a REALLY cold winter; just between you and me, I predict that it will be one of the worst on record.”
The chief went back to his village and ordered all of the men, women, and children to go deep into the forests and gather every scrap of wood that they could find. Two weeks later he called the National Weather Service once more and asked,
“Listen, how can you be so sure that this winter is going to be so cold?”
“Well,” the weatherman replied, “OF COURSE, it’s going to be cold, VERY COLD; haven’t you noticed; the Sioux have been collecting wood, nonstop, for weeks!”
A lesson can certainly be learned from this story; CONSIDER THE SOURCE! Advice is cheap but we need to learn to consider who it is that is giving us those words of wisdom. If I am seeking out advise as to what to do in order to mend a troubled marriage, I probably would not want to take that advice from a person who had been divorced three times. However, that is exactly what I encounter on a day-to-day basis. Those whom I would judge to be the least qualified are in the newspapers and on the airways, freely dispensing their opinions on whatever subject someone cares to ask their advice about. Again, I say: CONSIDER THE SOURCE.
In the story of Job, we find some bad advice being given to that suffering servant of God by none other than his very own wife, when in despair she advises her husband to:
“Curse God and die!” Job 2:9.
The very worst that Job could ever have done would have been to follow the advice of she who was supposed to be his soul mate. That advice would have led to his eternal destruction!
On the other hand, Queen Esther was advised by her uncle, Mordecai, to intercede for her people by going before the king, even though it meant that her life could be in mortal danger. His advice, when she obeyed, spared her people from almost certain annihilation.
The words of Jesus resound with advice that is meant to heal, to encourage, to inspire, and to comfort.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; this is the first and great commandment and the second is like unto it; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” Mathew 22:37.
“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,” Matthew 7:12.
“Love one another,” John 13:34.
Now that is advice well worth considering from a source greater than all mankind!
Gene Dumas is preacher at Manatee Springs Church of Christ.