Most people are not leaders. There’s nothing wrong with that. But one of the most common and costly mistakes followers make is letting their leaders do their thinking for them. Don’t do that! Instead, be like the Bereans mentioned in the book of Acts.
All of us, in different ways and at different times, look to leaders to provide us with counsel — with leadership. But that should never be at the expense of not studying and learning for ourselves, and becoming wise so that our own judgment is beneficial and reliable for us. Failing to do our own homework with the resulting learning will bring great regrets.
Take, for example, the experience of Ronald Wayne, who was one of the three co-founders of Apple. On April 12, 1976 he sold his 10 percent share in the company for $800. He received an additional $1,500 because he was willing to give up all future rights in Apple. Today, Apple is the most valuable company in the world, worth $2 trillion. His 10 percent would now be worth $200,000,000,000 (two hundred billion dollars)!
Instead of sufficiently doing his homework on the value of making a long-term investment, Wayne lost out on one of the greatest fortunes anyone could have had.
He didn’t make a wise choice.
It’s no wonder that scripture places a high value of our individually developing wisdom …
“Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you can do, develop good judgment,” Proverbs 4:7.
Be Like the Bereans (Do Your Own Thinking)
Leaders rightly have their positions and influence in our lives, but you have to live your own life, and you need wisdom to make the right decisions as you do. One of the best illustrations for this that we have in the Bible is that of the people in Berea. Imagine having the opportunity to hear the Gospel preached by the Apostle Paul himself. What an awesome opportunity that would be! But after the Bereans heard Paul preach they didn’t let Paul do their thinking for them:
“That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men,” Acts 17:10-12.
The Bereans weren’t willing to let Paul, Silas, or anyone else do their homework for them. They were very responsive to the teaching provided, but they were wise enough to know their response to the teaching was something they would have to “own” for themselves. The Bereans were intense about searching the scriptures for themselves while they received great instruction.
It’s a great reminder for us to not let our leaders do our thinking for us.
Do you thoughtfully and purposely pursue growing in wisdom and developing good judgment?
This article about thinking like the Bereans originally appeared here, and is used by permission.