The Wisdom to Decide

Yael Eckstein  |  March 24, 2023

Man with wedding ring praying with his hands to his mouth

To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans. —
Proverbs 16:1, 3

In Judaism, wisdom is something that should be sought, cultivated, and taught — no matter what age we are. Enjoy this collection of inspirational thoughts and insights about this godly pursuit.

When former President Ronald Reagan was a young boy, his aunt took him to get a new pair of shoes. In those days, to buy shoes you would go to a shoemaker. The shoemaker asked young Ronald which he would prefer — round toes or square toes. Young Ronald Reagan couldn’t decide, so the shoemaker told Ronald to come back when he had decided.

A few days later, the shoemaker saw Ronald on the street in town. When the shoemaker asked him again, Ronald still couldn’t make up his mind. Realizing the hopelessness of the situation, the shoemaker simply told Ronald to come to his shop in a few days and the shoes would be ready.

A few days later, when Ronald came by to pick up the shoes, the shoemaker handed him a pair of brand-new shoes. But to Ronald’s shock, one shoe had a round toe and the other was square.

As young Ronald stood in shock, the shoemaker looked him in the eye and said, “This will teach you to never let people make decisions for you.” As Ronald Reagan later said, “I learned right then and there that if you don’t make your own decisions, someone else will.”

The Wisdom to Decide

Life is full of decisions and dilemmas, and many of those decisions are far more important than what kind of toe we want on our shoes. But all too often, we do everything we can to avoid making a choice. We’d rather let someone else decide for us. 

Proverbs teaches us that, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue… Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

This Scripture teaches us a direct and profound lesson. As we work through our plans and decisions, the best way to ensure a positive outcome is to commit ourselves to God. If we frame our decision by first asking ourselves what is most in line with the will of God, we have reason to avoid deciding. God will grant us the wisdom to decide and choose the right course.

Your Turn:

Let us remember this wise advice the next time we have to make a decision. God can send us the clarity we are looking for when we are clear on for what — and for Whom — we are working.