“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble”-Proverbs 13:20
Three thousand years ago, before we could study how the brain functions, the third King of Israel, who is considered one of the wisest people that ever lived, made this statement as he observed people’s lives. Wisdom, according to Solomon, is contagious. It seems to have a way of rubbing off on us. Think about someone you consider wise with money. Do you pay attention to how they invest, spend, or give this resource? Did their influence cause you to save more, spend less, or give more away? If it did, you were influenced by someone that you considered wise.
If I had to define the dominate trait of a wise person, it would be someone that understands that life is connected. They know that their past is connected to their present and what they do in the present can change their future. Therefore, when challenged with a difficult decision, they choose their course of action after much prayer and counsel from those they consider wise.
Solomon described another group of people that, if allowed to influence you, will get you in trouble. Fool is a strong word because it means, in Hebrew, a person who doesn’t live carefully. In other words, they don’t care about consequences. My Father taught me that a friend that isn’t careful with their life – will not be careful with yours. If they aren’t careful with their health, they will not be concerned with yours. If they are not careful with their finances, reputation, or even their faith, they will not be concerned with yours.
This is why we are instructed to surround ourselves with those who are wise. Their influence will make us wise, and then we can use our influence to share wisdom with others.