Borrowed Wisdom from Rick Warren


“Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:3 NLT)

In 1979 I was finishing up seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and I felt like God was calling me to Southern California to start Saddleback Church. So I phoned a guy that I respected a lot and told him what I thought God wanted me to do.

You know what he told me? “Rick, that’s the dumbest idea I ever heard. You go out to California, and you’ll never be heard from again. It’s not going to happen.” He poured cold water all over my dream!

Any time you get serious about using your life the way God wants you to use it, there are going to be people who oppose it. You’re going to have friends and maybe even family members who oppose you, because Satan is going to throw everything he can at you to keep you from fulfilling your calling. One reason why so few people actually fulfill God’s calling is because they are unwilling to go against popular opinion.

If you want to follow God’s calling on your life, you must be willing to reject negative advice, no matter who it comes from.

The Bible says in Numbers 14:2-3, “Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. ‘If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!’ they complained. ‘Why is the LORD taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?’” (NLT) When faced with difficult circumstances, the Israelites decided they actually preferred slavery to freedom because it was safe. Rather than following God and doing what he had called them to do, they wanted to go back to their old way of life.

But one of their leaders, Caleb, had uncommon courage. He decided he was going to face the challenges with God’s help, even if he was scared. He was ready to reject negative advice in order to follow God’s calling.

In fact, Caleb didn’t just receive negative advice. Numbers 14:10 says, “The whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb. Then the glorious presence of the LORD appeared to all the Israelites at the Tabernacle.”

I love the fact that God’s presence saved Caleb and Joshua. That will happen in your life, too. Pioneers always get the arrow in the back. You’ve got to determine now to reject negative advice if you’re going to go after God’s calling in your life.

Talk It Over

  • What slavery are you willing to go back to rather than move forward and take a risk?
  • When you evaluate the advice you’ve received lately from people you love and trust, how much of it helps you move in the direction of your calling? How much of it is negative advice?
  • Why is it so difficult sometimes to go against popular opinion or the advice of our friends?

I’ve just returned from traveling and I’m doing my best to get my feet under me again. Pardon the “cheat” as I borrow some wisdom from an excellent preacher. I hope you enjoy this devotional by Rick Warren.

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4 thoughts on “Borrowed Wisdom from Rick Warren

  1. Well, there’s nothing wrong with borrowing or sharing wisdom, you know I do it all the time 🙂 Pastor Rick also said : “Patience comes from wisdom, and wisdom comes from hearing the perspective of others”, so I think that means he intends his wisdom to be shared ! Sometimes it’s easier to give up or slide back when things seem difficult, especially if we are trying to do it on our own and not handing it to God. One of many things like about Rick is that he has always been determined to help other people no matter how tough his life has been (with illness, family tragedies and other challenges) and we can learn so much from his experiences and hs positive view on them. He warns us : “You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies.”
    “God tests my faith through problems, tests my hope by how I handle possessions, and tests my love through people.” and both he and God WANT us to pass these tests.
    I can say that Rick “preaches what he practises” and he “talks the walk” and that means we can trust him because he’s been there !

    When I was learning to fly, I saw a great lesson from a famous aviator : “Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make all of them yourself”. I also learnt (in time) that my instructor and examiner both WANTED me to pass the tests as long as I was safe. Life is like that too.

    “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true” (Anon)

    1. David, I love the last lines especially! “Learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make all of them yourself”.

  2. Thanks Abby ! And that is why your book is so very valuable because it can catch some people before they fall too far into the abyss, and help people to find their way out by giving them hope to build a new life. I think with all kinds of depressive illness, a deep sense of loneliness sets in even though family and friends are still there, You are showing people that they are not alone in their suffering and that it is a real illness, not something imagined.

    1. Hey there! It’s not entirely related, but this struck me as I read IS. 53 today an it is the reason we can have hope and combat the loneliness and depression that sinks in due to our circumstances.

      Christ was pierced, crushed and chastised. How often do we feel crushed or chastised–how often do we wallow in guilt, chastising ourselves or feel crushed by circumstances or loss? How often do we feel (or even say in our vernacular) “it feels like a friend stabbed me in the back” or “feels like a knife to the heart”?
      I am not saying that these feelings are always unwarranted. Surely, to a natural man these things might be devastating. But I think this is often where we Christians forget our uniqueness, the FINISHED work of Christ, the reality of what He did for us. To be saved is more than eternal life–death has NO power over us, greater is He that is in us.
      Christ took our place in all things that result, all wages of sin: He bore grief, sorrow, transgression, rejection, oppression, ugliness…
      But we have peace and healing. Those have been purchased for us by Christ.
      I cannot help but wonder how Christ feels when we “dutifully” or ignorantly live our lives and days swallowed up and burdened by guilt, loneliness, sorrow, anxiety, etc. Does He not want to plead with us, “I bore that so you can have peace and healing! Do not struggle so!”
      Which finally, leads me to another passage that sadly so often describes our response to Him.
      “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
      Isaiah 30:
      15 “In repentance and rest is your salvation,
      in quietness and trust is your strength,
      but you would have none of it.
      18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
      therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
      For the Lord is a God of justice.
      Blessed are all who wait for him!”

      Oh Father, make will willing to believe, take my unbelief! Help me to see that living in fear, sorrow, anxiety and guilt is evidence of unbelief at worst and at best a misunderstanding, a shallow understanding, of what Christ as done for me. Help me to walk in the fullness of my freedom! Thank you, thank you for Jesus!

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