Wise Man, Mad Man, or Fool
Then I turned to consider wisdom, madness, and folly, for what will the man be like who comes after the king? He will do what has already been done. And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness. The wise man has eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness.
Yet I also knew that one fate comes to them both. So I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will also happen to me. Why then have I been overly wise?” And I said to myself that this is also futile. For, just like the fool, there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man, since in the days to come both will be forgotten. How is it that the wise man dies just like the fool? Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind. Eccl 2:12-17 (HCSB)
The difference between the wise man, the mad man, and the fool is this: If all are at a busy crossing on a street corner–
- The wise man will wait and look both ways before proceeding across the street, making certain there is no traffic;
- The mad man will look but will begin walking across even though he sees traffic, but in his estimation, he can make it across before getting hit;
- The fool, well, he starts walking assuming no one will hit him, and never bothers to look if it is safe or not.
Which of the three will likely live longer and avoid injury? Which will avoid death altogether?
The answer is clear, the wise man may outlive the other two, and the mad man likely will outlive the fool, but all have the same destiny–death!
If all three share the same fate, is there any logic that concludes why not live like the fool or the mad man, and ignore the light (clarity) that God’s gift of wisdom offers us?
Consider there are many people in this world that you may know who live like the mad man or fool. They walk a riskier path, always seem in a hurry, throwing caution to the wind. They seem to believe they are invincible, but sooner rather than later, they discover after it is too late that such a lifestyle presents risks that eventually includes hazardous consequences.
Does Life Require Some Risk?
However, is it not true, life without some risk prevents a man from exploring new horizons?
If wisdom is so good for us, then why do so many people opt not to apply it to their lives?
Why do so many walk away from the pursuit of it?
Why do some people embrace the thrill of living on the edge of danger? Is it madness or folly?
On the other hand, does God desire us to live a totally safe and cautious lifestyle?
I believe the Bible states otherwise. One can be wise yet still walk boldly and confidently in the face of danger if it is for the right purpose.
When we walk in the light of God’s will, ways, and wisdom, we realize there is a mission we have deep inside of us to make a difference in this lifetime. Sometimes that mission will undoubtedly place our lives at risk, but we are never alone to face the danger. When we are attuned to the Lord’s direction in our life, his presence is ever-present in the valley of the shadow of death, and we can feel his presence when we face our enemies (fears). The Lord’s presence will always calm our fears, comfort our soul, and guide our steps as we pursue our God-sanctioned mission in life. There lies the difference between a wise man and the mad man or the fool.
The Teacher in Ecclesiastes saw the folly in it all. He argued over and over, in the end, we all face the same inevitable fate–death. However, when we walk in concert with God’s will, ways and wisdom, death becomes merely a predestined portal to something much greater. The wise man approaches each crossroad assessing his course of action in the light of his mission in life. The mad man and fool only stumble through life unclear about their mission in life and thus rush off the street curb with reckless abandon only to cross to the other side.
Which course you pursue matters…
What about you, are you challenging the wind, chasing the wind, or are you being capturing the wind? Three sailing ships with similar rigging head out into the ocean. One is determined to navigate headlong into the wind, determined to challenge the wind. The second ship decides to chase after the wind no matter where it ultimately takes him, determined only to go fastest. The third steers a course that captures the wind and adjusts his course to make headway toward the ultimate destination that all three ships desired. Which will flounder? Which ends up chasing the wind without considering the ultimate destination?
Many of the Coach devotional messages appear in T. M. Brown’s Shiloh Mystery Novels. Visit TMBrownAuthor.com to order your copies and follow the exploits of Theo Phillips and his wife, Liddy, as they get drawn into dark secrets and scandals and solving mysteries that only lil’ ol’ Shiloh can muster.