WISDOM 101 – Chapter Eleven (VII)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Man Who Gives Freely – Part One

It’s strange to me coming back to the scriptures, after 20 years of not reading them to find that I don’t agree with a lot of what I am reading. In my Bible School days I swallowed the camel whole (see Matthew 23 verse 24) I accepted everything I read in the “good book” as 100% acceptable and bona-fide.  Back then it would be unthinkable to go through the teachings it provided and treat it like a pick and mix, but nevertheless that is what I am now doing, in gleaning wisdom here.

I do want you to question what I am saying in the same way I am questioning whether I agree with what I am reading. Most of all, I would love you to open up the scriptures for yourself and do the exercise that I am doing. Please go and see for yourself what wisdom you can find in the book which is helpful, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, there is so much that can help you to be found in the pages of ancient wisdom; I hope I’m going to find some now.

Proverbs 11-24

Hurray! Here is something that resonates well with me! Solomon is still writing in these good versus bad lines and it’s obviously the first part of what I read that has me jumping for joy. Here is the wisdom I came here looking for, that if you want to be wealthy you need to become a conduit for the blessing of others. The more you freely give, the more you will receive; to hold onto the blessings you have and not to share the excess will mean in future you will lack your needs

It is like collecting enough Manna from the desert in the morning to last a few days (See Exodus 16 and Numbers 11 in the scriptures) it will just go bad on you.  Like attracts like, so if you are a giver then that which is needed by others will come to you. Those who do not hoard and give out of the excess they have not only are seen as being a blessing to others, but like Dickens Scrooge on Christmas morning experience elation and joy in the blessings they have received.

Proverbs 11-25

It seems like the scriptures are saying, what goes around comes around. Elsewhere in the book it says “in the same measure you give out, it will be given to you” (see Luke 6 verse 38) it’s also strange how much of the scriptures I remember despite being away from them for so long. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (see Matthew 7 verse 12) seems to be the advice being given here. If you want your business to prosper be generous in all your dealings.

COSTCO V WALMART WAGES

I worked for a family firm of builders for many years and the thing that stood out to me about them was the loyalty of their staff. In an industry where people are always moving from one employer to another I am sure the generous wages they paid had a lot to do with things being the way they were. Conversely, I had another employer who paid the lowest wages in the country, (confirmed by their accountant) who had over 100 employees leave in a period of 2 years.

Proverbs 11-26

This verse reminds me of the saying “There’s enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed!” People who store and collect things up in a time of recession help to stagnate the economy whilst they become rich. They buy things for a knock -price because people are in desperate need of money to buy essentials, they will not sell what they have bought until they are able to get much more for it than they bought it for. Such people are trading on other’s misery.

This verse speaks of food being withheld from those who are hungry and although our economic system isn’t the same I see the equivalent being those who are being forced to get food from food banks. Here in the UK where there are thirteen million people in the fourth largest economy in the world living below the poverty line and one million visiting food banks each week; whilst the multinational companies get away with paying little tax whilst the government seems inept.

Proverbs 11-27

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, keep looking. That which you are seeking is seeking you! Whether you seek good or evil in your life, you will find it. I don’t think Solomon meant that anyone would deliberately search for evil for themselves, but that as they seek it for others it will surely come to them. What goes around comes around; so make sure you are looking for good things for yourself and others, if you are in business seek win/win scenarios.

Love and light to you from Andrew :) <3

Twitter: https://twitter.com/APSmithOnline
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aps57
Linked In:  http://lnkd.in/y8JEvb                                                                                     Email: info@andrewpaulsmithonline.com
Website: www.apsmithonline.com
Google+: www.google.com/+AndrewPaulSmith

WISDOM 101 – Chapter Eleven (VI)

8D2CF7243D5B4B018DB848E3A395F8A2The Trustworthy and The Talebearer – Part Three

Three thousand year old wisdom from the wisest and wealthiest king who ever lived. I have decided to come and seek the advice of Solomon as written down to be able to let his son Rehoboam know what his father’s advice was, should Solomon not live long enough to share this wisdom face to face. Some see this text as the “Word of God”, I see it as wisdom that has stood the test of time. I am here to learn from this wisdom so I can run my business and life successfully.

I am not writing a commentary on the Book of Proverbs, although at first glance it may seem that way. I am sharing my impressions and insights as I read through these verses of ancient text. I am not looking at the original Hebrew meaning, or what scholars and commentaries have to say about these words. I am merely shining my own light on what I am reading, I intend to be a unique prism who encourages others to read these words for themselves.

Proverbs 11-19

 In a dualistic universe where there has to be and up for there to be a down, a top for there to be a bottom, a right for there to be a left, and inside for there to be an outside; there has to be a right for their to be a wrong, righteousness for there to be evil. Both sides of the equation must exist, but as all things in existence those who don’t want to transcend this dualism challenge us to choose sides. If you put me in a corner and make me decide which to do, I will choose to be righteous.

However, it is also true to say that that which I consider righteous, you may consider evil; our own perspective has a lot to do with the way we believe and act. Your truth and mine may differ, and therefore I am concerned about the implications of “the righteous will live and those pursuing evil will die” unless the righteousness spoken of here is defined by the one whose life is at stake. Our own conscience would be the only fair arbitrator on this conundrum in my view.

Then we have to consider where our conscience originates, what makes us certain that something is righteous or evil? Is there an innate sense of right and wrong, moral and immoral; or is it that our conscience has been molded by those who were in authority in our younger lives and those we listen to today? If it is innate in all human beings then deep down we “know” which is the right path to travel to live, and which will lead to death.

If conscience is something that is a learned response then I understand verse nineteen to be saying behave the way that you believe to be right in your heart and you will live; if your perspective changes then so should your behaviour. Maybe Solomon is alluding to external forces not connected to you directly taking the lives of evil men and women. It seems strange in light of this scripture that we have a societal impression that “only the good die young!”

Proverbs 11-20

I don’t know if as I am writing this I am in combatative mood, because I have for a number of my articles been very accepting of what is being said in the text since my upset with the misogyny displayed in Chapter 7, again I find myself at odds with what I am reading here. I have already promised you, dear reader, that I would be open and honest with you. These are not sugar coated, towing the party line (whatever that might be) observations and impressions!

So why am I disturbed by what I am reading here? I see danger in the words of Solomon, as with verse nineteen the perception of what is perverse and what is blameless must be questioned. The implication so far, is that the reader knows which is which; but now the perspective seems to have shifted to that of the LORD. In another part of the scriptures it is suggested that “the mind of the LORD is not easily known” (See Romans 11 verses 33 and 34)

If we are being instructed to be blameless in our actions from the perspective of the LORD we are on a hiding to nothing.  These words leave me cold, they are a truism disguised as a wisdom. I don’t want my life to be one that the LORD finds abominable and yet I don’t feel that this helps me to behave in the way that will be acceptable, unless I end up subscribing to the full teachings of a religion which is man-made. Men have the tendency to get things wrong, I know I’m a man!

Proverbs 11-21

I think it is Lao Tzu that says “You will not be punished for your anger, but by your anger!” I do not subscribe to the Old Testament view that God is an angry dictator type being and for this reason I don’t like the vengeful God that is being alluded to here in verse twenty-one . I will admit to liking the idea that evil men will not go unpunished, and that the righteous will be delivered; until I consider my own lack of blamelessness and righteousness in my dealings with others.

I do not want to live in fear all the days of my life that because of something I did years ago that is coming to pay me back evil for evil, despite my journey having brought me to a place where I would not do such a thing today. The kind of god being described here is not the one I want to follow and yet I will remain here looking to glean what wisdom I can because I still believe that Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived.

Proverbs 11-22

Oh dear! Back to the misogyny again! I’m having a difficult time here dear reader, I can’;t see how this is going to help my business, the rantings and ravings of a man who really doesn’t seem to like women. It would have been easier to say “Eh lad, our Rehoboam, listen up to thy father – get yerself discretion. It’ll be reet good for helping ya get on wi folks!” Discretion is advised King Solomon when speaking to me about god’s most beautiful creation.

Proverbs 11-23

I am so glad to have come to the end of this article.  I suppose if we take onboard what is being said here, we are being given a clue as to who the righteous are. Those whose desires end in something good each time, but the King just can’t leave it there in his poetic dualistic balancing statements. He has to tell us that wrath is to be expected by the wicked, it’s just par for the course chaps. Being bad lads and such ain’t going to help you one bit in the long run.

I apologise if I have offended you, but before you accept my apology and keep your sensitivities unchallenged, please ask yourself if you really want to subscribe to the belief in an angry god whose lack of forgiveness for the bad guy doesn’t seem to mirror the teachings of other parts of the scripture. If you are certain that your discernment of what is right and wrong in god’s eyes is correct, then spare a thought for the humble who like me aren’t so sure.

Love and light to you from Andrew :) <3

Twitter: https://twitter.com/APSmithOnline
Facebook: www.facebook.com/aps57
Linked In:  http://lnkd.in/y8JEvb                                                                                     Email: info@andrewpaulsmithonline.com
Website: www.apsmithonline.com
Google+: www.google.com/+AndrewPaulSmith

Wisdom 101 – Chapter Eleven (V)

true-wisdom-for-life_t

 The Trustworthy and The Talebearer – Part Two

Are you looking for Wisdom? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because that’s exactly what I’m looking too!  I have read the words of the scriptures in the past many times, but back then I was being spoon fed the doctrines  of the churches I belonged to. I now find myself 20 years on from my close involvement with Christianity reading the words of an ancient king who was known for his wisdom and wealth. My object here is to learn from 3,000 year old wisdom.

Proverbs 11-15

Someone you know comes to you and wants to borrow some money which the financial institutions have turned down because they believe them to be too big a risk. They ask you to be guarantor, what do you do?  I suppose it depends on how well you know them, or how able you are to meet the payments if they default, doesn’t it? If you turn them down it will make things awkward between you for a while or it may end your friendship.

King Solomon says that the answer to this question should be no every time. It may seem a little harsh at first glance, but we came here to learn from his wisdom and to be able to tell whoever may ask you that you aren’t refusing them your help in this way does not reflect on them personally. I am sure it will help you to be able to tell them that this is the answer you always give, to such a question because of the wisdom you received from an ancient king, will help you.

You can show them this verse in the scriptures, but I would suggest that you could consider if you are financially able to give them the money they need, without expectation of part or full repayment, but maybe we should wait and see if Solomon has anything to say about my idea later.  It seems to me that the amount of interest people are charged for borrowing money should be enough to support the wisdom of Solomon on this matter, do you agree?

Proverbs 11-16

I am not sure as I read this, if the intention was to contrast the graciousness of women with the violence of men or weather it is Solomon’s intention to speak of the different types of human being there are from a lifestyle point of view, rather than from which sex they belong to.Surely you could equally say A gracious man gets honor and violent women gain wealth? I don’t suppose it matters really, what we are here for is the wisdom contained in the words.

It’s a fact that people gain wealth through forceful means, but I think the point Solomon is making here is that honor is to be desired more than wealth. the honorable person is a far better character to know than the violent one, even if the violent one is wealthy! I am reading these words of Solomon because I want to become wealthy like him and yet I am sure he is not intending to encourage his son or any future readers of his words to take up violence to become wealthy.

Proverbs 11-17

If you want proof of my conclusions about the previous verse then you need not look any further than the next words of Solomon to be found here in verse seventeen.  In an energy universe what you send out comes back to you; we read later in the scriptures “Cast your bread out on the waters and it will return to you after many days.” It’s the law of karma, the measure you give will be returned to you, cruelty and kindness each have their own reward.

In business (as in the rest of life) it is always possible to find a cruel and a kind way to deal with others. Solomon is clear which way he thinks we should deal with those our lives touch and his reasoning for being this way is impeccable logical in my view. I suppose we are all tempted to “get one up” on our competitors or rivals, but what might seem like a good idea could end up being a double-edged sort that comes back to hurt us.

Proverbs 11-18

I seem to be on the right track here. What kind of a reward do you want? If given the choice: deceptive wages or a righteous reward? Maybe you don’t mind, but whatever your answer, my desire is for the reward that is due to those who sow in a way that is not deliberately attempting to deceive others. I want the reputation of one who is trustworthy, even if known for my mistakes, they are seen as genuine ones and that as a result I gain wisdom through them.

WISDOM 101 – Chapter Eleven (IV)

Proverbs 11 Intro 4

 The Trustworthy and the Talebearer – Part One

As you may know if you have been following my “WISDOM 101” my original intention was to write down my impressions and insights on re-reading the book of Proverbs, with a 20 year distance from the teachings of the church and my involvement with it. Back then as a preacher and teacher of Christian evangelical orthodoxy, I read commentaries, prepared talks and generally lived and breathed my intellectual life in the church, after attending Bible School in 1979/80.

I am realising that it may take me even longer than I second guessed to complete my task here. Initially my intention was to write 31 articles in the months of June and July 2014, one for each chapter of the book of Proverbs. I got off to a good start writing the first 10 articles by the 19th June. Then two weeks ago I took up the gauntlet again and decided to take a more detailed look at Chapters 11 and following and I wrote three articles on the first eleven verses.

Here I am at the end of July a third of the way through my task, and I have not only decided to be more detailed, but other things I am doing right now have prevented me from writing any more since a week ago Wednesday, but I am determined to press on, it will take as long as it takes. I am determined to find out what King Solomon the wisest and richest man who ever lived (if you believe his PR, and I do) has to teach us about business and becoming wealthy.

Proverbs 11-12

I am guilty as charged on this one! I am not as bad as I used to be when it comes to judging others words and actions out loud. The words of Jesus  from the beginning of Matthew 7 have come to haunt me to many times in the past “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get!” for me to ignore them. When you point the finger, there’s three pointing back at you!

I tell my son, the teenager, it’s great to have opinions but it’s not always good to share them. So, why do we want to share our opinions? I think it is because they usually put us in high-standing in our own opinion of ourselves and that makes us feel good.  Most of the things that you and I do in our lives have the intention of making us feel good. Even if we are helping others it isn’t entirely selfless, because do someone a kindness will make us feel good.

If you want to feel good, find a strategy that will leave a pleasant taste in other people’s mouths, seems to be what Solomon is getting at here. My Mum used to say to me, quite often if the truth is told, “If you haven’t got anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all!” A man (or woman) of understanding remains silent rather than belittle their neighbour or their business competitor. It seems strange to me how many times I forget this wisdom, how about you?

Proverbs 11-13

A childhood rhyme comes to mind here “Tell tale tit, your tongue will split, and all the little doggies will have a little bit!” It doesn’t seem to be enough for Solomon to advise his son not to speak ill of others, he feels it is necessary at this point to add, don’t share confidences that people have entrusted you with. Don’t be a talebearer or a gossip! It seems true to say, that it makes us feel good to reveal that we know something about another human being  that no-one else knows.

Being the source of new information puts us in a place of power, we become to go to person when people want to know, it gives others the impression that we are wise. However, when the tales we tell are about the private lives of others, the long term effect is that people won’t take us into their confidence, they will keep us at arms length and we will end up with very few friends. In my work as a Life Coach I must keep confidences, so I am glad I gained this wisdom early.

If you or I want to be considered as trustworthy in our businesses, keeping confidences will be of great help. Think! Who would you rather do business with, someone who will reveal all the inside knowledge on what you are doing to all and sundry or those who and hides all the secrets you share away from others? Maybe there aren’t many people who hold to this high standard in business today, I hope I am wrong about that; but I know which type I’d prefer to work with.

Proverbs 11-14

We all need guidance and leadership, no matter how old or wise we may have already become. It’s no good enough to have great presentation skills, if what you are saying isn’t helpful. If wisdom isn’t at the cause of the guidance we are receiving right now from our local or world leaders, then the effects will be ruinous for us all. Make sure you know the character as well as the politics of those you vote for. The guidance we get sometimes can be worse than no guidance at all.

To make sure that the counsel we are receiving is going to be helpful in guiding us to where we want to be Solomon suggests that wisdom will come from going to as many of the people who seem to have got their act together as possible. Don’t just ask that trusted friend when you need help, go and see what the brightest minds and the most successful people you know have to say about you problem before taking any action.