Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Beware of Flying Bookshelves

I was driving on the highway the other day and found myself behind a pickup truck hauling furniture in its bed.  It looked like someone was moving a few pieces. Not an unusual site, but this cargo caught my attention.  There was this bookcase in the back of the truck, one of those you put together yourself.  It was standing upright with a strap over its top, but I noticed that the strap had been put on so tight that the top of the bookcase was giving way.  It appeared like an accident waiting to happen and, not wanting to be in the wake of a flailing bookshelf, I changed lanes.  Shortly after I merged to the left, the strap let loose and the bookcase came flying out of the pickup crashing onto the highway exploding into pieces! Relieved that I had managed to avoid the carnage, I realized how important it is to be careful who you follow.

Living on the information highway that is the 21st century, there are so many lanes we can choose.  So many blogs, podcasts, advice columns promising us “five easy steps” to whatever your dream may be. Not saying that there is no good advice out there but, as I learned on the highway, it’s important to be careful who you follow. Following some poor advice is much more dangerous than following a truck whose cargo is about to be catapulted. The ancient Greek playwright Sophocles once wrote, “No enemy is worse than bad advice.” Scripture concurs.  The Old Testament book of Proverbs (a book all about following the right advice) says, “The advice of the wicked is deceitful.”

I recently came across this phrase that has got me thinking about who I follow - “It pays to pay attention to who you pay attention to.”  Who do I listen to?  Do I give attention to the qualifications of the people I follow?  Am I on the lookout for poorly packed bookshelves about to fly out of the back of those I take advice from?  It pays to pay attention to who I pay attention to.

I have found some helpful guidance in the opening verses of the book of Psalms: Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.  (Psalm 1:1–2 NLT) Pretty simple advice.  It pays to avoid the advice of the ungodly while it pays to meditate on the Word of God.

There are lots of well-intentioned people out there who are worthy of us following them.  But there are also some ill-intentioned people who are quick with advice and thrive on accumulating followers. It’s our duty to discern the qualifications, motives, and trustworthiness of those we choose to drive behind.  A bad choice can be disastrous. 

So, quit following those people who are an accident waiting to happen and get in the lane of the wise.  Remember, it pays to pay attention to who you pay attention to.


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