Read Isaiah 9:1-7.
“And he will be called Wonderful Counselor” (v. 6b).
Adolph Rupp didn’t like the advice he got, but he took it and won a national championship.
Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones was one of the university’s greatest athletes. He won four varsity letters in football and basketball and three in baseball and is the only UK athlete to have his number retired in both basketball and football.
In 1947, his sophomore season, Jones decided to give up football
to concentrate on basketball, but head coach Bear Bryant would have none of that and persuaded Jones to change his mind. Late in the season, though, Jones injured his ankle and was late reporting for basketball practice. “Rupp was always using football against me,” he recalled, and Rupp did it again. The coach claimed Jones wasn’t in good basketball shape and refused to play him.
Early that season the team made an eastern road trip. On the road, Rupp would retire to his hotel room, don his favorite red pajamas, and then summon someone to his room to socialize and talk basketball. After Temple beat the Cats 60-59, Rupp called for
the team manager, Humzey Yessin, who was a former high-school
teammate of Jones’, to come up and talk with him.
He asked Yessin what he thought was wrong with his team, and in reply, the manager offered him some advice.: “We’ll start playing better when you get Wah Wah back in the starting lineup.” Rupp countered that the manager was just showing favoritism toward his old friend.
The next night, though, Jones was in the lineup against St. John’s and UK won. Jones started every game the rest of the season, and the team went 36-3 and won the NCAA championship.
We all need a little advice now and then. More often than not, we turn to professional counselors, who are all over the place. Grief counselors, marriage counselors, school guidance counselors, rehabilitation counselors, all sorts of mental health and addiction counselors — We even have pet counselors. No matter what our situation or problem, we can find plenty of advice for the taking.
The problem, of course, is that we find advice easy to offer but hard to take. We also have a rueful tendency to solicit the wrong source for advice, seeking counsel that doesn’t really solve our problem but that instead enables us to continue with it.
Our need for outside advice, for an independent perspective on our situation, is actually God-given. God serves many functions in our lives, but one role clearly delineated in his Word is that of Counselor. Jesus himself is described as the “Wonderful Counselor.” All the advice we need in our lives is right there for the asking; we don’t even have to pay for it except with our faith. God is always there for us: to listen, to lead, and to guide.
I don’t think you want to listen to what the fans say. If you listen to them too much, you’ll be sitting up there with them. — Former Va. Tech coach Frank Beamer on taking advice from fans
We all need and seek advice in our lives, but the ultimate and most wonderful Counselor is of divine and not human origin.