In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. (Prov. 21:20)
Wise people are deliberate and thoughtful. They take circumstances into account. Wise people know when to stop. Foolish people have no “off switch.” Once activated, they just keep going as the verse above says, devouring all they have. They live lives overrun by excessity. No one wants to be considered foolish, but if we are honest that’s exactly how we could categorize our Gotta Have It! behaviors.
Brad was a successful businessman. You might even say a wise businessman, since his professional acumen was sought after and highly prized in his community. After creating several lucrative companies, Brad was on the A-list for social funcitons, speaking engagements, and civic events.
As his notoriety spread, Brad began to travel more away from home. This put added pressure on his time in town as he continued to keep a handle on his businesses. Certainly, he had people running various aspects of them, but, being a wise businessman, Brad also knew the importance of “hands on” in managing and maintaining what he had.
He knew no one else would take care of his businsses the way he could.
To the business and social world around him, Brad was a wise man. However, there was an aspect of Brad’s life that fialed to exhibit the same measure of wisdom. In this part of his life, Brad was markedly unwise.
Brad, in his headlong rush to achieve, maintain, and increase his commercial success, was a fool at home.
With all of his time and energies diverted into business, he was devouring the stores of natural affection and goodwiill of his family. He failed to discuss the inner qualities of his children because he was rarely home and seldom spent any meaningful time with them. He failed to recognize the value of his relationshiop with his wife because he so consistently took it for granted.
Brad told himself that all of his hard work was providing and securing a future for his family. He thought his wife would appreciate his sacrifice and understand the time away as a necessary “evil.” Brad didn’t undersatnd that what he was really securing was a future wihtout his children, as they painfully disengaged from his life and found substitutes — though sometimes very poor ones — for his presence. Brad didn’t understand when his wife began to think of his time away not as a necessary “evil” but as just plain evil, when she came to view his work as his mistress.
For all of his understanding of the need to be hands on at work, Brad failed to understand the need to be hands on at home. When it came to his family, Brad was a fool to jeopardize something so valuable for monetary and social success.
Wisdom is about feeding your inner part, your soul. Excessities are about satisfying the outer, surface parts. Wisdom is about making a choice to deny the outer in order to truly nourish the inner. When you are able to make this difficult choice and feed your soul instead of your excessity, you will prosper. This is a promise, a true promise — not the false, deceptive promises made by any one of your Gotta Have It! behaviors.
Source: Chapter 11, “How God Provides Wisdom” in Gotta Have It! by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc.