Authentic Conversations with Andy Mason

017 Be As Shrewd As a Snake

December 3, 2019

Welcome to the conversation!

I like to take action quickly. This applies when helping others and to investment opportunities. A business friend of mine needed help with his cash flow for a short period of time. So, being a good friend, I didn’t hesitate to lend him some money because “A good man deals graciously and lends…” Ps 112:5

However, the situation turned out to be a lot bigger than a simple cashflow problem. My friend was not able to repay as he intended and that left me in the awkward position of having to have a painful conversation with him and with my wife.

So where did I go wrong? Shouldn’t we always respond to the needs around us out of generosity and brotherly kindness? When you feel compassion shouldn’t you just act?

It turns out the answer is NO. Compassion is only part of the equation. Check this out:

“A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he will never be shaken…” Psalms 112:5, 6

To guide your affairs with discretion means that you make the decision carefully, cautiously, with wariness. You have your eyes wide open and do the due diligence.

I didn’t. I was simply moved by the situation. If I had showed more discretion I would have asked more questions… BEFORE lending or investing. It doesn’t mean that my decision would have been different, but it would have saved a lot of the surprises and pain.

Jesus commanded us to be as shrewd as snakes AND innocent as doves (see Matthew 10:16).mSnakes don’t blink; they sleep with their eyes open.

It is easy to be as innocent or even naïve as a dove but we are commanded to be BOTH innocent AND shrewd (showing sharp powers of judgment). I know I need to grow in the shrewdness!

So here’s what I’m learning:

  • Do the due diligence.
  • Ask the hard questions and/or have people around you who will.
  • Trust God has more than one opportunity for you to part of the solution and/or investment.
  • Be patient, not motivated by the pain of someone else’s problem or the fear of missing out.

And ultimately…

  • Read the full instructions before proceeding!

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