Do your words have an ROI?
TODAY’S PROVERB: Do not speak in the ears of a fool, for he will disdain the wisdom of your words. Proverbs 23:9
“Speak in the ears . . .” Notice this phrase? It took me awhile to see the context. When we speak — or whisper — in someone’s ear, it implies a type of intimacy. Friendship, love, trust, or hope for these things. When we want to share something important, especially in a noisy environment, we get close to someone’s ear.
It also means “fools” can be close to us. People we work with, are friends with, in our families. According to this proverb, despite our willingness to invest in them, they disdain our words of wisdom. They may be in close proximity to us, but they may not be close to us in our heart — our beliefs.
Does this mean we don’t attempt speaking words of wisdom? That we determine who is a fool?
Within the context of Scripture, we are called to speak the words of eternal life that come from our Messiah (John 6:68). We just have to be careful of our expectations — what their responses will be. The sower scattered the life-giving seeds, but he knew that not all seeds would fully mature. (Matthew 13:1-23).
There’s a term in business called Return on Investment (ROI). ROI measures the amount of return relative to the investment’s cost. If the return is higher than the investment, the ROI is considered profitable.
For many years, I treated my investment in others as a business deal. Once my investment “costed” me more than the return, I stopped. But that’s not my decision. Only our Heavenly Father knows what the ROI is in a relationship. Only He can determine when my investment is no longer needed. And when He guides me to stop, I need to stop. Otherwise, I’m throwing pearls to swines (Matthew 7:6) and they aren’t mine to throw. And that can be a sad moment of realization.
The only way I will know if I’ve hit that mark is through His wisdom, discernment, and knowledge. On the surface it may appear that I should quit — that there is no future profitability. But, our Father sees the future. That’s why I must follow His lead. And that’s a good thing no matter what.
May we speak wisdom in obedience to our Father’s leading, my friends.