by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 44 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)

The wise man said, ". . .in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." Even the President of the United States realizes this and chooses for himself a group of men whom he calls his cabinet. These men are experts in different fields in which the President has to make decisions. He meets with them for counsel and advice.

Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. said, "You can borrow brains, but you cannot borrow character." Perhaps it could be said that one who does not need to borrow character will inevitably borrow brains.

Each person should have several people on his cabinet. "For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety." (Proverbs 24:6) "Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established." (Proverbs 15:22) "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14)

Pity the know-it-all. Pity the person who has come to the place where he thinks he does not need advice and counsel. Of course, one should be very careful that he chooses only Christian counselors. "Blessed is the man that walketh no in the counsel of the ungodly. . ." (Psalm 1:1) It is dangerous and unwise for a high school student to seek the counsel of so-called senior counselors if they are not Christians. To be sure, the students should not be rude to them, and they should listen to them but not consider the things that they have to say.

Now who should be on one's cabinet?

1. The Pastor. Before making any serious decision certainly one would want to counsel with his pastor. This could be done oftentimes in a private conference. Other times simply a telephone conversation will do, but the wise person will seek the counsel of his pastor before making life's great decisions. This is the reason that parents should build the pastor up in the minds of their children. The day may come when a young person will have to have the help of a counselor. It well might be that the pastor is the only one that can help. At that time the parent will be glad that he has taught his children to respect the pastor. The parents who criticize the pastor at home are teaching them not to go to the pastor when they need his counsel and advice, and in the long run, they do irreparable harm to the child. When the child needs the counsel of his pastor, he will not seek his advice nor follow it. Many lives could have been saved had parents been more careful in their conversation about the pastor around their family circle.

The godly pastor longs to help his people. He will be glad to counsel with you. Seek his advice. He should be on your cabinet.

2. Choose someone with the gift of wisdom. The Apostle Paul speaks in his first letter to the Corinthian church about the gifts of the Spirit. One of these gifts is the gift of wisdom. God graciously gives to some a double portion of discernment and wisdom. Each person should seek out such people and have one or more on his cabinet. One should not be afraid to seek their advice. Such a person is inevitably interested in the lives of others as this trait is inseparable with this gift.

3. A sincere friend. "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel." (Proverbs 27:9) This should not be someone given to extravagant flattery, but who is friend enough to be honest, sincere, and frank. This counselor should be one who knows you well, loves you dearly in spite of your faults, and would counsel you for your own good and not for his own personal benefit of standing with you.

4. Someone who is successful in your field or in the field you plan to enter. If, for example, a young person is going to be a school teacher, he should also have a cabinet member who is successful in the teaching profession. To be sure this person should be a Christian. Every person should have such a cabinet member.

5. Parents (if Christians). Each child should feel that he is able to go talk to his mother and father. Oftentimes parents say such things as, "You don't know how hard it is for kids to talk to their parents," or "The hardest person to talk to is someone in your own family." This should not be so, and it need not be so. There are several things parents can do to avoid such a catastrophe, and it is definitely a catastrophe!

(1) Start early in the child's life having regular talks with the child. this will help develop an at-homeness between the parent and the child. One of the problems concerning the line of communication between parents and child is the fact that we wait so long to start developing such habits that we find it awkward to do so. Because of this, regular talks should begin early in the life of the child.

(2) Nothing should appear to be funny to the parent. Appear to be interested. Their problems may seem trivial to you, but they are dead serious to your children. If they feel that you think the problems are humorous, they will not return to you with their problems the next time. Be interested, listen carefully, and never make light of their conversation no matter how trivial it may seem.

(3) Treat them as adults. Never talk about their love as being puppy love, and never let the child feel that you look down at him as he shares with you his problems.

(4) Listen carefully to everything they say. Let them present their case. Do not interrupt with premature advice. Be sure the entire case has been presented before the jury gives its verdict. Many times this s the main thing that a child wants--just someone to listen to him.

(5) Always have time for private conversation with the child. If the parent does not take time for the child when the child is young, the child will not take time for the parent when he is old. Do not make the child feel that you are rushed. Give him ample time and let him know that he is tremendously important to you.

(6) Be on the lookout for times when the child might want to talk to his parent. Sometimes the young person might be a bit timid to talk to Mom and Dad. Oftentimes a wise mother or father will suggest that they talk as he sees the need arising in the life of a child. Be on the lookout for such times and give ample opportunity for them to discuss their problems with you.

(7) Always be confidential. When the child talks to the parent in confidence, it should be kept in strict confidence. Once the parent has betrayed this the child will be reluctant to share his problems with the parent again or to return to the parent for counsel.

(8) Build up the child's confidence in the parent. There should be a definite understanding that Mom and Dad are big and important people. A child should be trained to believe that Dad's advice is as good as the school teacher's and that Mom's is as good as any special counselor's. Do not make such statements as, "Dad is not an expert here." Lead the child to believe that Mother and Dad are loving experts who can give advice worthy of being followed.

We have been discussing the Christian's cabinet. On that cabinet should be the Pastor, the parents, someone with the gift of wisdom, sincere friends, and people successful in your chosen field. Take a moment now and list your cabinet. Write their names on a piece of paper. Keep the list accessible. When there is a decision to make, go to your cabinet members and ask their counsel and advice. Of course, the decision is yours, but it should no be made without consulting the cabinet.


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