The Bible exhorts us to be “prudent,” demonstrating care and thought for the future. As Christ-followers, we want our thoughts and actions to be filled with good judgment and foresight. There is a famous quote that comes to mind here: “He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” - Jim Elliot.
Jim was one of five missionaries killed while trying to evangelize the Waodani people in Ecuador in the mid-1950s. His journals and letters, along with the accounts of his life and death, have inspired many since then. The quote reflects his deep commitment to his faith and the eternal perspective he held. We could say he was a prudent Christ-follower, even though it may appear he went against this scripture: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” (Proverbs 22:3). What do you think? Was Jim prudent or not?
Another example: a person might be described as prudent if they save money for unforeseen expenses or make choices that prioritize long-term benefits over short-term gains. The antonym of "prudent" is often "imprudent," which means not showing care for the consequences of an action or being rash or impulsive. Consider this scripture: “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” (Proverbs 14:8). Does this mean we should never act on our impulses? What would be some examples of when it would be appropriate to be impulsive and yet still be acting in a prudent manner?
In financial contexts, "prudent" often refers to the wise management of resources and avoiding undue risks. Consider these scriptures: “The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.” (Proverbs 14:18) and “The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.” (Proverbs 14:15). Does this support carefully considering how we, as Christ-followers, spend and invest the financial resources we have been blessed to have?
Similarly, in legal contexts, there's a concept known as the "prudent person rule" or "prudent man rule," which refers to a standard of care expected of a person in a particular situation, such as the management of someone else's assets. Consider this scripture: “All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.” (Proverbs 13:16). Is this making a strong case for gaining knowledge of situations before taking action?
My final example, and the scripture that inspired this blog post today: “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16). For me, this verse hits home. Too often I show my annoyance at what I consider perceived insults. For me, I have to ask myself: A: Am I really being insulted; B: So what if I am; I don’t have to allow myself to become annoyed; C: What do I need to do to turn the other cheek? Often, it requires me disengaging from a situation and having some time to think. The phrase “Pause when agitated” helps me to remember this.
Overall, prudence is often associated with wisdom, caution, and discretion. May we all exhibit greater prudence in our walk with Christ. Amen.
Your aspiring servant, Daniel M.
October 25, 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent “Conversations with Christ” blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. Note: All scriptures quoted are from the NIV.
If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.