The other day I went to Crate and Barrel to pick up a gift for a wedding shower. As I waited to have the gift boxed, I busied myself scanning the nearby aisles. A salesperson was helping a young woman select wine glasses. Out of the blue, the young woman looked at me and asked which of two glasses I preferred. I am not sure why she asked me—I actually think the salesperson was a bit offended, but I was happy to lend my help. I asked her several questions about her style and purpose for the purchase—was it for everyday or entertaining. She heeded my recommendation, and moved on to other glasses. Soon she was back at my side, asking for my opinion again. At one point she said, “for some reason I trust you.” This continued for some time. I helped her choose wine glasses, water glasses, two decanters and several other items. I had fun, but I couldn’t spend all day there, so before she took the opportunity to ask me for help with dishes, furniture or bedding, I wished her well, paid for my items, and left. Did I look like an expert in housewares or entertaining? I again wondered what made her prefer my input over that of the sales staff? Regardless, the interaction made me smile, and I was flattered.
While the choice of stemware is relatively inconsequential, we know that who we ask for advice can have profound consequences. We seek out experts, and people we can trust. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Ruth and Naomi. After Ruth’s husband passed away, she left her homeland, the pagan nation of Moab, and traveled with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem. Once in Bethlehem, Ruth continued to heed the counsel of Naomi, a decision that bore eternal blessings. Naomi’s advice led to Ruth marrying Boaz, resulting in a child, who ultimately would be included in the lineage of Christ Himself! Ruth certainly made the right decision. But how do we know if we are seeking wise counsel?
Recently I had to make a personal decision regarding ministry. I am so grateful for the time and advice I received from several friends. How did I know whom to ask for counsel? I knew that their advice would fall in line with God’s characteristics, that their words would be true, honest and praise-worthy (Philippians 4:8). I knew that in their own lives they seek to glorify God, so I could trust that they would want the same for me. And just like Ruth, I wanted to heed the counsel of individuals that worship the one true God. While ultimately I had to prayerfully make my own decision, I felt confident that I had heard God and been directed by His Spirit. He had used faithful followers as instruments for His purposes. I am grateful for these Godly friends who know much more than the best wine glass to use!