You have all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder.” When we are young, it seems that we want to show those around us how strong we are and that we can do what ever task is put before us. When I was young, I rarely asked for help in solving a problem. I had the mindset that “I can do it myself.” A do-it-yourself project. Homework. Getting a job. If there was a job or project to be done, I rarely asked for help because I had this mindset that I had all the resources at my disposal to accomplish whatever I put my mind to do.
As I begin to get older, limitations of physical abilities begin to challenge the “I’ll do it myself” mindset. My mind is willing but my body isn’t. What I used to do in my exercise routine can no longer be experienced in the limbs and muscles of my body. I had some porch light bulbs that needed to be changed, so I got a 24 foot extension ladder to do the job. As I was climbing up the ladder by myself, I started shaking on the ladder and realized that what I would have done as a 20-year-old was no longer applicable as a 60 something year old. I found myself turning to my son who shimmied up the ladder and within a few minutes changed all three bulbs.
This morning I came across a passage of an individual in the bible who was seeking to kill an individual who had done wrong. He decided to destroy the whole city in order to get this one person he was after. “All the troops with Joab came and besieged Sheba in Abel Beth Maakah. They built a siege ramp up to the city, and it stood against the outer fortifications. While they were battering the wall to bring it down, a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.” He went toward her, and she asked, “Are you Joab?” “I am,” he answered. She said, “Listen to what your servant has to say.” “I’m listening,” he said. She continued, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Get your answer at Abel,’ and that settled it. We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the LORD’s inheritance?” “Far be it from me!” Joab replied, “Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I’ll withdraw from the city.” The woman said to Joab, “His head will be thrown to you from the wall.” Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bikri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 20:15-22 NIV
Joab wanted to take down one man, Sheba. But what he did was build a siege ramp up to the city. He battered on the wall to bring it down. Rather than working smarter, he was working harder and was going to destroy the whole city to bring one man down. Fortunately, there was a wise woman who challenged his approach in getting the work done. She asked him what he wanted and promptly went to the townspeople and had the head of Sheba cut off and thrown over the wall. Problem solved. How much time and effort could have been averted had he asked some questions before besieging the city.
On this journey, asking for insight and wisdom can save a lot of wasted time and energy if we only recognize that others might just have a better idea.