Where do you go for advice? Who do you listen to? When do you feel the greatest need for guidance?
You can find advice everywhere. Just ask your neighbor. Turn on any television channel. Walk into any bookstore or library. Websites abound with people telling you what to think or do or urging you how to feel.
But not all advice is good. Much of what people recommend you to do will actually get you into trouble.
The person is greatly blessed “who does not follow the advice of the wicked” Psalm 1.1. But seldom does the advice of the wicked sound wicked. It is couched in terms to make you think you are doing the best thing possible.
Proverbs is a book of great advice, even about listening to advice.
“The way of a fool is right in his own opinion, but the one who listens to advice is wise” Proverbs 12.15.
“Listen to advice and receive discipline, that you may become wise by the end of your life” Proverbs 19.12.
Great men have listened to good advice. The powerful Pharoah listened to Joseph’s good advice, Genesis 41.36-38. Moses, leader of Israel and the meekest man of all, listened to his father-in-law’s wise counsel, Exodus 18. Listening to good advice is strength, not weakness.
The Bible gives great advice to those who know how to listen.
What is the best advice of all?
It’s hard to pick a single text, but these words from the Lord Jesus Christ must figure near the top of the list.
“Do not work for the food that disappears, but for the food that remains to eternal life—the food which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him” John 6.27.
There is so much here in this concise piece of advice.
One, don’t work for the wrong thing. Are you focused on material things? Do your efforts have only physical good attached to them? How foolish to work so hard for things that perish! How silly to worry with ephemeral things!
Two, work for the right thing: eternal life. This is what matters. When you and I face the portal of death, we will have a single concern: What lies beyond? What awaits us in the Afterlife? Are we prepared this very minute to step through that portal?
‘Tis but a step away, the door of death,
The heart will fail to beat, with loss of breath;
Then go we all to Hades’ dark abode,
Where we will face the hardest debt we’ve owed.
—J. Randal Matheny
Three, you must work hard for it, but ultimately eternal life is the gift that Christ gives. It cannot be earned, but it must be sought, Hebrews 11.6. It cannot be bought, but all must be surrendered for it, Mark 8.34-38. Half-hearted effort is no effort at all. If we do not give all, we will gain nothing but grief.
Four, if you really want what matters, eternal life, you must go to the right person. Jesus is the only one who has God’s approval. He received it at his immersion and at the transfiguration. His resurrection was proof of the Father’s approval. Jesus said,
“For this is the will of my Father—for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” John 6.40.
Only a fool spurns good advice. And only a fool’s fool ignores the sweet counsel of Christ to prepare for eternity.