3 Cliche Sayings
3 Cliche Sayings
Evaluate Your Sources of Wisdom and Counsel
My grandmother used to give me advice by tapping into her never-ending supply of “cliché” sayings. In her case, as far as I can remember, those sayings were very true and many resurface in my mind even today.
She used to say:
“Not everything that shines is gold.” In one simple phrase, she tried to warn me from prematurely judging people and opportunities, especially those wrapped in a shimmering cover. She wanted me to look beyond the surface.
She also used to say:
“The way you prepare your bed, that’s how you’ll sleep.” This was her way of telling me to own my decisions—both mistakes and successes. It was her way of encouraging me not to look for scapegoats or make excuses, but instead develop character built on personal ownership.
I’m sure many of us have either used cliché sayings when giving advice to someone or we’ve had cliché sayings used on us.
There is something special about a proverb, a short saying that, in just a few words, encapsulates so much wisdom. But there is also something very dangerous about talking in clichés that sound very biblical at face value without testing them against our ultimate source of truth and wisdom—the Bible.
Cliché Sayings to Avoid
There are two cliché sayings I hear believers repeat all the time that could not be further from the truth. As leaders, we are given advice and counsel all the time, and the Scripture reminds us that “there is wisdom in multitudes of counselors” (Proverbs 11:14).
But if we do not pause to evaluate the advice we are given, we can fall prey to half-truths and false teaching that can take us places we never intended.
In 1 John 4:1, we are told: “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
2 Timothy 4:3 says: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”
Colossians 2:8 warns us against trusting in the wisdom that’s based on human, worldly traditions: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
Yet we often fall prey to false teaching or worldly wisdom because it feeds our ego. It tickles our internal needs and desires, provides a foundation for justifying our decisions and choices, and creates a perception of truth for our false, unbiblical theology.
First Cliché to Avoid:
Money Is The Root of All Evil
Money is always a subject of controversy. Some preach a poverty gospel where money is seen as bad, even evil. Others preach a prosperity gospel where, unless you are blessed with substantial financial resources, you must be doing something wrong in God’s eyes.
But what does Scripture have to say about it?
First of all, it’s “the love of money [that] is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). God’s Word warns us about falling in love with money and encourages us to be content with what we have.
Proverbs 13:11 warns us against trying to gain wealthy quickly, but advises us to gather it little by little.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 speaks directly to those who are wealthy, admonishing them to be rich in good deeds and reminds them that the resources they’ve been entrusted with are to be shared with those in need. Reading through the epistles, we see many times where financial resources were used to provide for struggling churches.
Money is simply a tool. It can be used for good; it can also be used for evil. It’s our heart attitude toward financial resources that matters most.
As leaders, we will be held accountable for the way we steward the resources entrusted to us. As parents, are we teaching our children to honor God with the “first fruits” of our income? As leaders of organizations, are we mindful about the way we spend or invest those financial resources? Is our organization generous? Do we earn our income with integrity? Is our accounting above reproach?
The way we earn, give, buy, invest and so forth says a lot about our heart attitude towards money.
Second Cliché to Avoid:
God Doesn’t Call the Equipped, He Equips the Called
The saying above sounds so encouraging, and it actually is partially true. Often, we will be faced with tasks that seem so much bigger than our ability. We can feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped for the task at hand as we’re challenged to take a step of faith and trust.
This cliché saying, however, dismisses both preparation and ability, which are actually part of many “called” moments in the Scripture. It makes a categorical statement about calling and preparation in which calling always comes first and then preparation follows. It seems to imply that person who is already prepared is disqualified from being called.
Can you imagine going to someone who says they’ve been “called” to be a doctor but has not gone through medical school? Would you take your car to someone who feels “called” to be a mechanic, yet has no clue about cars? Would you allow someone “called” to be a carpenter help you build a home even though they’ve never built one before?
David spent a lot of time tending sheep and fighting off lions and bears before God’s call came. He was being prepared and equipped years before Goliath showed up on the scene.
The decades that Joshua spent under Moses’ tutelage eventually prepared him for leading the people of Israel after Moses died. His call to be “strong and very courageous” and the strength of character it took to say, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord,” were not accidental. These came about because of years of faithfully walking with the Lord and intentional times of preparation.
I can’t help but think that the years that Paul spent studying the Law or Peter spent learning to fish were actual times of preparation for the callings they ultimately received.
Sometimes God calls the equipped, and sometimes He equips the called.
As leaders stewarding relationships within our organizations, we can’t afford to dismiss the calling or the preparation. When we do, we end up with people unprepared to do the work they are assigned to do, and then we wonder why our organizations underperform, struggle or sometimes fail. In the same way, we can place so much value in a person’s resume and preparation that we overlook his or her lack of spiritual foundation.
Stewardship is the act of faithfully managing both the human capital and the financial resources God has entrusted to our care. Let’s not fall for worldly advice or clichés that tickle our ears and feed our ego but are contrary to God’s Word. Let’s be faithful in testing every spirit and in evaluating counsel that comes our way against God’s truth. When we do that, we’ll protect ourselves from being led astray and from leading others astray!