An Exercise of Practical Wisdom on Driving!


An Exercise of Practical Wisdom on Driving

An Exercise of Practical Wisdom on Driving

Repeatedly in Scripture we are encouraged to not only have sound knowledge but also practical wisdom. Proverbs is the book of wisdom. The very purpose of the book is “to know wisdom and instruction, to discern the sayings of understanding” (1:2). Solomon goes on to say that “fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7). He continues, “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding” (2:2), and he assures us that “the LORD gives wisdom” (2:6a).

Probably most of the instances of “wisdom” in Scripture are speaking of spiritual wisdom based on God’s revelation, but we know that a practical wisdom is also important. God is even interested in our everyday life and wants us to have a good understanding on how to conduct ourselves so as to please God and bless others.

Recently, I was thinking of how wisdom is even found in the way we drive a car. Do we text while driving? Would that be a “wise” thing to do in light of the fact that thousands of people are killed each year by using technology while driving a car or truck? We know the answer. Would it be wise to drive distances at night without a flashlight in our car? Would it be wise to drive our car without washing the windshields, checking the tire pressure, and locking the car when we park it somewhere? Or would it be wise to drive a car above the stated speed limit? We know the answer to these kinds of questions and wisdom would inform us as to what to do.

Let’s now examine a very practical and relevant issue to see how wisdom may help us to decide on an ordinary issue of life: Whether to drive long distances or not, depending on the cost and time to travel.

Suppose that you were wondering if it would be wise to take a job about 50 miles away from your house. You calculate that this would be 100 miles that you would need to drive each day (back and forth). (We’ll not factor in the danger on the highways to drive long distances.) In one week, this would be about 500 miles and in a month, the distance would be about 2,100 miles (somewhat over four weeks a month). In a year, this would be 25,200 miles.  If one has a relatively recent mid-size car, it may cost about 50 cents a mile to drive the car.  (This would include gasoline, depreciation, car repairs, tire replacement, inspection and registration, and similar factors.)

Each day, the cost would be about $50 to drive your car and this would be $250 a week. Therefore, it would cost about $12,600 a year for transportation expense.  If we were to be complete in our calculations, we might also include the cost of our time. Suppose we figure this at $25.00 an hour. Thus, we must calculate at $50 each day for the cost of driving. As you can see, this would then raise the cost of driving the car each day for 50 miles (two ways) at $100.  We can see that it does cost a great amount to drive a car such distances! Other items could be included, such as toll road costs and parking fees.

Now suppose that you earn $15.00 an hour or $120 for an 8-hour a day job. We must deduct the $100 transportation expense, thus you would be earning $20 each day or $2.50 per hour (for an 8-hour shift).  Even if we only reckon this at $50 a day transportation expense, this would be $6.25 per hour.  If we assume that taxes and the Lord’s work would “eat up” $2.00 per hour, this would mean that you would be working for about 50 cents an hour ($2.50 minus $2.00)—or perhaps $1.50 per hour (the higher figure).

Can we see that if we used wisdom in this matter, we would need to determine whether we could live on 50 cents or $1.50 per hour on the job! This is not an unrealistic “problem” but it is one that probably millions of wage-earners must wrestle with!

For example, on the last job I had, the manager/owner wanted me to work on the Lord’s day and I explained that I could not do this. He then said that he could offer me a job about 30 to 40 miles away (one-way) at about $8.00 per hour.  Now let us allow wisdom to figure this out. At a cost of about 50 cents a mile at 40 miles, this would mean that I would have been paying about $40 for the trip (40 miles two-way). I would have earned about $64 a day. Deducting the cost of transportation, I would have earned $24 a day ($64 minus $40) or $120 a week (5 times $24). After taxes and a pittance to the Lord’s work, this might be $15 a day or $75 a week (take home pay). I would be earning around $3.00 or $1.80 an hour ($15 divided by 8). If we were to include cost of driving, at two hours ($10 an hour), this would be $20 less per day. Thus, I would be earning $4.00 for an 8-hour shift ($24 a day minus $20). Of course, this would mean that I would be working for 50 cents an hour for the 8-hour shift.

Can we see the impossibility of this? Something must change. Either I would have needed free transportation, or I would have needed to make this my primary use of time, or I would have had to live without any expenses, or some other impossible “solution”!

Doing this sort of exercise, by using spiritual and practical wisdom, can give us some startling but important results! Obviously, we can’t try to work all of this out in a brief article such as this, but this exercise does show why you and I should try to deal with very practical and important matters—such as which job we take, where we need to live, what kind of transportation we have, and much more. Otherwise, we probably will make some dreadful decisions!

I encourage you to seek God’s help in walking with wisdom—His own wisdom. Make your practical decisions in life with knowledge and wisdom so that your life will be pleasing to God and a blessing to you, your family, and all others!

–Richard Hollerman


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