Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 19 – Developing the 5th Tool of Teachability

“Stop listening to instruction, my son,

and you will stray form the words of knowledge.”

Proverbs 19:27

One of the hardest things for people to do is listen.

If you could look at me right now I’d have my hand in the air because I have a tough time doing it too especially as a guy who likes to fix things.  Once I start seeing solution pieces flying around the air while someone is talking I can’t help but to start plucking them out of the air and putting them into an action.  I admit that I’ve gotten better at this, but it has taken time and a concerted effort to shut down the problem fixing side of my brain and jump start the shut up and listen part.

There is another side to listening though.  It is listening to direction, instruction, correction, and wisdom of others that is also hard to do.

When Major League Baseball scouts are evaluating talent for upcoming drafts they evaluate them on 5 tools.  The first 4 have to do with their athletic ability and are obviously necessary.  You can’t have a player drafted who can’t hit, throw, or run because that would defeat the purpose of the game.  However the 5th tool is often looked at as the most important to scouts and organizations.  It is the “Teachability Tool”.  In other words, this is the ability to take instruction from someone and then apply it to your game so you can improve.  Scouts know that if you can find a player with that 5th tool to go along with the others they have the best chance of success.

I think if we used this evaluation process in our world we’d see a lot of people lacking that 5th tool.

There are people that may have great abilities in parenting, pastoring, being a spouse, or in their spiritual walks but the lack of a 5th tool in their life holds them back.  There is an aversion to accepting wisdom from other’s that keeps them from every being more than they could be right now.

We bristle at direction or correction by other’s because in our fragile human condition we think that if we say they are right we are seen as dumb, weak, or unable to figure it out on our own.

I have this problem a lot, but I deeply want improvement on it.  I’ve seen where my attitude and sourness to instruction and knowledge from others has only served to stifle me in my life not strengthen me in my individuality.

Our spiritual lives are stunted as well when we don’t listen to Godly counsel or to God’s Word.  The lives of others, the direction from the Bible, and the Spirit living in the lives of those around us are gifts God gives us for us to grow.  When we turn a blind eye to these gifts we miss out on valuable connection with God.

By our actions we are saying that our way is better than His way.

I’m encouraged that the wisest man in the world saw the value of accepting knowledge.  These verses have brought great clarity and direction to me and I hope they do the same for you.


“A man’s wisdom gives him patience;

    it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11


“He who obeys instructions guards his life,

    but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.” – Proverbs 19:16


“Stop listening to instruction, my son,

    and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” – Proverbs 19:27

I pray that we all can be quick to listen, eager to apply, and slow to put stock in our ability to figure it all out.  Develop that 5th tool of teachability in your life and there is no doubt you will grow and find your ability to avoid many of life’s roadblocks will increase.

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