The following story came from the REMINDER, the newsletter of the First Baptist Church of Pascagoula, Mississippi.
A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a new Jeep Cherokee advanced out of a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Rayban sunglasses, and a YSL tie, leaned out of the window and asked the startled shepherd, "If I can tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one of them?" The shepherd looked at the Yuppie, then at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered, "Sure!"
The Yuppie parked his car, whipped out his notebook, connected to a cellphone, surfed to a NASA page on the Internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, opened up a database and some 60 Excel spreadsheets with complex formulas. Finally, he printed out a 150 page report on his high-tech miniaturized printer, turned toward the shepherd and said, "You have 1,586 sheep!"
The shepherd answered, "That is correct ... as agreed, you can pick one of my sheep." He watched as the Yuppie made a selection, bundled it up, and placed it into his Jeep Cherokee. Then he said, "If I can tell you exactly what the nature of your business is, will you give me back my sheep?"
"Okay," said the Yuppie, "why not?"
"You are a consultant," said the shepherd.
"That is correct, but how did you guess that?" asked the Yuppie.
The shepherd replied, "That's easy. You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to be paid for the answer to a question whose answer I already knew. Furthermore, you don't know diddly about my business because you took my DOG!"
What is the moral of this humorous story? It's the same one that was pointed out hundreds of years ago by the Psalmist: you've got to be VERY careful about the people whose advice you seek and take! History is filled with the pitiful examples of lives wrecked by bad advice and evil advisors.
The writer of Proverbs said, "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure." (Proverbs 11:14) However, one must be VERY careful about those advisors! Like the Biblical character, Job, we are all surrounded by "friends" who freely give us advice and counsel--- much of it bad.
Be judicious about the advice you take and from whom you seek it. And when you give advice, make sure it glorifies God, encourages others, and builds up faith. Take the long look at things .... remember, "a man is praised according to his wisdom, but men with warped minds are despised" (Prov.12:8).
Oh, and one more thing .... in case you think I'm discouraging you from seeking advice, just listen to the words of the Proverbs one more time: "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." (Proverbs 12:15)
God bless you as you give and take good advice ..... beginning with the Scriptures!