In Proverbs 9:1 we read, “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars” (NIV 1984). What are the seven pillars found in the house of wisdom?
We find them listed for us in the previous chapter in Proverbs 8:12,14 (NIV 1984): I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion… Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. And note how verses 15 and 16 connect wisdom to leadership.
Let’s begin with what a prudent leader looks like. One characteristic of a prudent leader is their ability to assess risk well. All leadership involves some level of risk, because leaders are leading into an unknown future. They make decisions today that bear consequences in an unknown tomorrow. Nothing is 100 percent certain. We never have all the information that we want to make a “perfect decision” (as if that were possible).
We must discern when we have enough information to make a good, timely decision, given the circumstances. Rashness can lead one to assume that deciding now is better than waiting on more information. And we must agree that at times, especially in crisis moments, we must make decisions sooner rather than later. But don’t confuse decisiveness with making fast decisions. Truly resolute leaders move forward only when they have the right amount of information to make the best decision. Once they have that information, they move forward, not delaying any further.
Ecclesiastes 9:4 reminds us that “a living dog is better than a dead lion.” A prudent leader can assess when risk is too high and avoid the danger. Those who are not prudent move forward and suffer painful consequences. Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (ESV)
Are you being prudent and wise or rash and foolish in your leadership decisions? The Holy Spirit will help you discern the way forward. Trust His voice and follow closely after Him as He guides you.
For more thoughts on leading with Kingdom wisdom: Growing Kingdom Wisdom