Proverbs 4

A Father’s Instruction

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; 

pay attention and gain understanding.

Proverbs 4:1

At first glance, Proverbs 4 is about listening to your earthly father and learning wisdom from him. Another layer, though, refers to our Heavenly Father. This duality gives more depth to the Proverb and encourages us to look for lessons we’ve learned from both sources.

Wisdom can be gleaned from both, and some lessons we learn may have been engineered by our Heavenly Father to further our knowledge and understanding.

An interesting lesson I learned from my earthly father relates to how most people want to be kind and helpful. Obviously not everyone is like this, but the majority are in my experience.

My Dad was an exceptionally good salesman. He was friendly, outgoing, fun loving and very likable. I tried to pick up as much from him as I could, and, fortunately for me, he was generous with his advice. This included how he used to sell things door-to-door. He would ask people if they would please do him a kindness. When they asked how, he’d ask them to please let him tell them about the product (he was trying to sell). What intrigued me was that even if they weren’t interested in what he was selling, they would almost always hear him out. His appeal for a kindness from them created a bond.

I believe then, and still do now, that most people, when asked, want to be kind. They want to help.

Whether you’re selling something, or are in need of serious help, an appeal is often successful. This is why we so often see people begging from medians or street corners. It makes us feel good when and if we are able to provide assistance.

I was on TikTok the other day and watched part of a Steve Harvey interview featuring Carol Burnett. She was wonderful as always. She briefly talked about Jimmy Stewart and what a good man he was. His twin daughters had sent her a T-shirt featuring the advice he gave them when they were headed off to college. It read, “Always remember, be nice to people.”

His advice very much reminds me of our instructions to love one another as ourselves and what Jesus said were the two greatest commandments in Mark 12:29-31.

No wiser words were ever spoken.

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