“You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.”
— Proverbs 8:5
The word prudence is not one we use or hear very often. But the book of Proverbs seems to enjoy using it, so perhaps it is worth reevaluating.
Prudence can be defined as the ability to discipline yourself, to manage your affairs well, and to discern and have good judgment. We need prudence so that we can make good decisions and not act rashly or too quickly without first considering the costs or consequences.
In Proverbs, Wisdom calls everyone to gain prudence. We should act with discernment, thinking carefully even if our intentions are good. For example, it can be good to give money for important causes, but we should first pray and discern how and where to give it so that we can be sure our gifts are distributed well.
Jesus encouraged his disciples to have prudence. In Luke 14:28, for example, he says that if you want to build a tower, “won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
In a similar way, Jesus wants us to assess the cost of being his disciple. We need to consider his words and discern his ways so that we can confidently follow his example and set our hearts on him.
How might Jesus be calling you to seek prudence today?
Jesus, as your Spirit gives me wisdom to know you more fully, give me prudence to love you more deeply and follow you with greater intention. Amen.