In 1963, Craig Breedlove became the first man to break the 400 mph land-speed barrier, driving a turbo-jet vehicle. It was the first of 11 records set over the next two years. Then, in 1965, the legendary Breedlove thrilled the crowd when he broke the 600 mph barrier—on four wheels.
For the next 30 years, only three new records were set. But in 1997, former RAF fighter pilot Andy Green notched the current record of 760 mph. Breedlove tried repeatedly to break Green’s record, but came up short every time because of accidents and engine trouble.
Breedlove refused to give up. In 2014, the 77-year-old tried to make yet another comeback. He spearheaded an effort to return the land-speed record to the United States—but not as the driver. Instead, he helped design a new jet-powered vehicle. But Breedlove came up short again.
That’s what most people would call risky, revved-up racing.
Wise King Solomon took risks and acted foolishly—when he ran from God, and abandoned the ways of wisdom so he could frolic on the paths of sin. In fact, “the LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away …” (1 Kings 11:9).
Solomon probably didn’t race his fastest horse and chariot through the streets of Jerusalem—but he did behave foolishly every time he left his God-given wisdom on the roadside and ran after forbidden pleasures and untold treasures.
Rather stupidly, Solomon lusted after many foreign women. He collected 700 royal wives and 300 concubines, as if they were trophies—and committed adultery with them. In turn, they influenced him to worship false gods, dabble with the occult and perform pagan rituals.
He gathered exotic keepsakes, and amassed great riches. He lived in an ornate palace, and ate fine foods. He paraded his possessions, and showed off his things, just so he could impress his harem—and his family, friends, and guests.
Although Solomon was an exceptionally wise and influential leader, he was also a foolish man because he rebelled and compromised. For years, he lived like a reckless, self-centered playboy.
Even so, experts say Solomon wrote many of the wise sayings collected in the Book of Proverbs. He probably penned them toward the end of his life—after learning life-changing lessons the hard way and after reflecting on his foolish, reckless living.
That’s why Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” Undoubtedly, reckless people chase after folly—but wise people consult caring and trustworthy confidants.
Friend, do you live wisely more often than you live foolishly? Do you listen to the wisdom of others more often than you listen to the stupidity of some?
I encourage you to reflect on these probing questions—and ask your family and friends for their honest insights. It may be awkward and painful, but that’s often what it takes for us to grow.