Is it just the crowd I run in or do men in general have a hard time taking advice from women?
Not long ago, a bunch of us helped a couple from our Bible study class pack a rented U-Haul for their move to another city. The men took on the task of getting the truck backed up to the front door for loading. Since there were steps up to the door of the house it sat at just about the same height as the truck bed.
The truck had a ramp that slid out of the back. While the women watched, the guys worked for several minutes trying to get it positioned just right from the truck to the door. But even with all their wrestling with the ramp there was still a bump from the ramp to the truck that would make it difficult to wheel the dolly across.
Then Debbie, one of the watching women spoke up. “If you pull the ramp all the way out of the truck it has hooks on the end to connect it smoothly to the bed.” I heard her clearly but all the men continued their fruitless efforts. They didn’t even look up.
“Say it again, but louder this time. They didn’t hear you,” I said. Encouraged, she repeated her wise and obviously experienced advice. The neighbors heard but our husbands filtered it out.
Not one to let wise advice go to waste I got my husband’s attention and repeated the instructions. He merely waved me off because they were in the middle of trying to work out a problem.
After several more minutes of jockeying the ramp one of the men said, “Hey. I think if we pull the ramp all the way out of the truck we’ll be able to hook it up so it’s smooth.” Immediately all the men responded and made it happen. Brilliant.
Sounds goofy doesn’t it? But we do the same thing with God when we have a problem or need direction. We ask our friends for advice, check out the latest book or blog, or just continue to try to figure it out on our own while the entire time God is giving us the right answer. (Oh, and before you say anything, I’m not saying that women are like God. It was just a handy – and very appropriate – metaphor.)
The apostle Peter did it. When Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on the Mount of Transfiguration Peter was confronted with a situation he didn’t understand. He didn’t know how to respond when he saw Jesus in all His glory talking with Moses and Elijah. So Peter made a suggestion. “Jesus, it’s really great that the three of us are here. The guys and I can build three shacks for you to stay in.” (That’s my paraphrase of Mark 9:5.)
Do you remember how God the Father responded to that ridiculous suggestion? “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him (Mark 9:7)!” There stood the glorified Christ yet Peter was developing a plan of action. God essentially responded: “Stop coming up with your own answers. Jesus has them all!”
We, too, are quick to come up with our own answers or follow the advice of others. But shouldn’t we first turn to the One who has all the answers? The night Jesus was betrayed, He told His disciples about the Holy Spirit. He came to the disciples 50 days later on the day of Pentecost. He lives inside every believer.
The Spirit of Christ is our teacher (John 14:25). He tells us what He hears from Jesus and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). Why don’t we always turn to Him first? Yes, God speaks to us through godly counselors and the circumstances that He orchestrates. But too often, we skip God’s Word and the guidance of His Spirit. Will you commit with me today to listen to Him?