We live in an age when prudence takes a back seat to spontaneity, when feeling and emotion push aside reason and sobriety.
Prudence and manly virtue painting by Paolo Veronese

Perusing The Epoch Times, I came upon a short article by Jeff Minick entitled “The Forgotten Virtue: Prudence.” It began, “When we think of prudence, the word caution may come to mind. Some may even associate it with ‘prude,’ meaning a person who is overly modest or priggish in their behavior. To the ancients, however, prudence was one of the four cardinal virtues … the charioteer of all virtues.”

Because I often refer to shepherding as a lesson from the ancients, Minick had my attention.

He continued, “Derived from the Latin ‘providentia’ – looking ahead, sagacity –prudence involves listening to ourselves and to others, seeking advice and wisdom, and then making a righteous judgment for a course of action and laying plans for the future.” He noted that “when we’re young we often ignore this charioteer, leaping into a situation without considering all the consequences” and landing “not on our feet but on our face.”

Solomon, the son of David – who was once described to Samuel as “prudent in speech” –agreed.

The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.
Proverbs 14:8

Minick’s essay offered a warning: “A lack of prudence can have consequences on a national level, as well.”

It seems the author took a line right out of Moses’ playbook. When imploring the Israelites to obey God’s laws, the shepherd turned national leader, offered this…

Obey them completely, and you will display your wisdom and intelligence among the surrounding nations. When they hear all these decrees, they will exclaim,
‘How wise and prudent are the people of this great nation!’
Deuteronomy 4:6

Minick finishes his exhortation: “We live in an age when prudence takes a back seat to spontaneity, when feeling and emotion push aside reason and sobriety. Prudence needs resuscitation. By reviving the practice of that virtue, both publicly and privately, we will give the reins of our runaway horses back to the charioteer.”

Shepherd leader, how would you rate yourself on the prudence scale? Have you forgotten the virtue of forethought, judiciousness, caution, discretion, and wisdom? What some call “good sense.” Who’s driving your chariot .. and in what direction?


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Presence Point

Presence Point equips leaders to intentionally live into their calling as shepherds in the lives of those they lead, and partners with multipliers to do the same within their sphere of influence.

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