Guidance is when we help others learn to listen to God. Itâ€™s not just â€˜good adviceâ€™ or wise counsel. It is about helping people discern what God is telling them to do.
The Quaker tradition has what is called Clearness Committees. The committeeâ€™s job is to ask questions, lots of them. By asking all those questions, they often remove the fog of a decision.
For true guidance to take place, I think we need one more piece of the puzzle. After all the questions, are we going to be vulnerable enough to say what we think God wants to happen? Is there a high enough level of trust to be completely honest â€“ everyone around the table, not just the one making the decision?
John Ortberg tells this story as an example. A famous writer and educator was offered the presidency of a college. He came to his Life group and asked them to be his Clearness Committee. The questions were easy at first – what would you do, where would you live, what are your goals.
Then someone asked what do you think you would like about being president. He said, “I wouldn’t like wearing a suit and tie, structured office hours, the politics, and fundraising.”
They came back, “Okay; we know what you wouldn’t like. Tell us what you would like.”
“Yes, I know. I am getting to that. I wouldn’t like that it would take me away from my writing, the travel, attending lots of meetings, and the pressure.”
“Okay, but what would you like.”
He was silent for a long time and finally answered in a meek whisper, “I would like having my picture in the paper with ‘President’ underneath it.”
Nobody said a word. The answer was clear now. Finally someone asked, “Isn’t there an easier way to get your picture in the paper?”
They laughed but the decision was made – he was not going to become the president.
If we are going to see and experience life change, we have to practice the discipline of guidance in our Life Groups.