Seven Wise Counselors

20 08 2010

I have come to realize something about myself, I don’t like researching things. Research is like opening up Pandora’s box. One question branches out into a family tree of questions and before long I find myself lost in details I didn’t know I didn’t know.

Take cellphone plans, for example, if you have ever thought, “Maybe I should change my cellphone provider/plan,” buy Advil first. There are few things as frustrating as figuring out cellphone plans.There are so many options now and the options have options, variables, fine print, contracts and no contracts, and so many details and exceptions to these that, after a while, I feel like I am losing my mind! I think “they” do this purposely so that after a while people will say, “Enough!” dip their hand into the cellphone sea of information and go with whatever they pull up.

As soon as you start researching things you enter a maze where figuring out one thing, leads to something else you don’t understand. I started looking for a simple cellphone plan, the most inexpensive, no-contract one with a good texting option and I ended up trying to figure out the world of GMS phones and SIM cards, unlocking phones and what is “jailbreaking” a phone? Agh! Why can’t it be simple: one, two, three, make a decision, done. Well, it can, but then you don’t always get the best deal.

Proverbs 26:16 is an interesting little verse on this topic, “Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.” As I was digging into the meaning behind this verse, I thought this was an interesting note:

“The lazy person thinks he has life all figured out and has chosen the wise course of action, but he is simply lazy. J.H. Greenstone says, for example, ‘Much anti-intellectualism may be traced to such rationalization for laziness.'” (Notes on the verse from bible.org)

When I go to the shelf and buy something without researching alternatives, I am doing so because it is easier; I don’t have to expend any mental energy on it. I am doing what Proverbs 26:16 is describing. By choosing not to think, I have taken the sluggard’s course of action.

The thing is, cellphone plans are not going to make or break my life; but some things will. Huge, life altering decisions are often made without “seven wise counselors.” Sometimes we endure years of pain and heartache because we get all Frank Sinatra and just do it our way. It seems our default button is “I’m right;” we have such a tough time being a student. This isn’t smart; it’s anti-smart.

I want to be wise about the decisions I make, but, oh, my head gets tired sometimes. I get tired of figuring new things out; especially things that are hard to figure out. I would like it if things were a little more compartmentalized, you know, deal with one thing and then deal with the next. Some days I don’t have the energy to spend more time on yet another thing. As I am listening to myself I am thinking about the danger of making decisions when I am worn out or under pressure. Careful. Then, especially then, I need seven wise counselors.

I am really not an expert on anything; I need all the help I can get, so I have come to really respect good researchers. One good website comparing 15 plans, or one really smart friend who has done the work ahead of me, and things begin to take shape for me. I know a few people who LOVE researching things; anything!  Mike and I have phoned them more than once and asked them if they know something about a pretty random thing we are learning about. Inevitably, they do and they are more than willing to share their wealth of information. It is like seven wise counselors in one shot! AWESOME!

— Teresa Klassen

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