SKEPTICS may ask, why don’t people follow the advice of numerous proverbs and maxims of forethought available for centuries? Instead, they conclude that these apply only after some rightful venture has gone “horribly wrong.” When, for instance, a person gambles and loses all they have, including their house, didn’t they remember the old Scottish proverb, “willful waste leads to woeful want?” However, it wouldn’t have done much good because of the gambler’s greed. So, are the maxims on ethics, virtues, and morality useless just because people disregard them? No! For Christians and Jews, the Books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are great examples; what about other religious thinkers and philosophers?

Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, rendered in English as Machiavel once said, “People are of three different capacities: one understands instinctively; another understands so far as it is explained, and a third understands neither instinctively nor by explanation. The first is excellent, the second commendable, and the third altogether useless.” #32

It reminds us of what the Bible says about these three capacities:

To the first group, “If you want to become wise, look for wisdom. Use everything you have to understand.” (Proverbs 4:7)

For the second group, “Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend solely on what you know. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

For the third group, “People who are evil and cheat others will become worse and worse. They will fool others, but they will also be fooling themselves.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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