“It’s worthless! It’s worthless!” says the buyer,
but when he goes on his way, he boasts.
There is gold, and an abundance of rubies,
but words of knowledge are like a precious jewel.
As you know, if you’ve read many of these posts, I’m a fan of The Office. And if you’re a fan, it won’t take you long to think about this episode either. There is an episode where Andy is selling his XTerra and Dwight starts haggling with him. He takes a look at the SUV and starts telling Andy just how worthless it is. Eventually Dwight ends up buying it from Andy at a reduced price.
For the rest of the episode, we see Dwight washing the SUV and then listing it for sale at a higher price than Andy was selling it for. As you can imagine, this makes Andy a little upset. So, the usual Andy/Dwight drama ensues.
Dwight was successful at convincing the seller that his item was worthless and then boasted about the deal he got as he walked away. Notice that the Proverb doesn’t say this is bad, it’s just an observation. Whether it’s right or not, I don’t know. However, do you really want to be known as that guy? Do you really want to be known as the guy who talks you down until you don’t get a good deal, only to turn it around and make a profit. Like a house flipper who’s looking for every little flaw they can deduct money for?
However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be shrewd. In fact, I think we are supposed to be shrewd. We are supposed to be good dealers. It’s a good idea to haggle and barter. We don’t have to go so far as to insult people, but it’s good to get a good deal.
Do not love sleep, lest you become impoverished;
open your eyes so that you might be satisfied with food.
“I’m just too busy” seems to be a pretty common response to many things nowadays. People are “just too busy,” so they don’t spend time with their families. They’re “just too busy” so they don’t spend time in prayer. They’re “just too busy” so they never serve, get to know their neighbors or do anything that doesn’t directly benefit them. People are “just too busy” so they don’t go to church, they don’t get to know people and develop meaningful relationships with them. People are “just too busy.”
The thing is, we’re not too busy for watching TV. We’re not too busy to spend hours a day on Facebook. We’re not too busy to send a thousand text messages a day. We’re not too busy to wait in line at Starbucks.
There are a lot of things that aren’t urgent that we’re not too busy to do. Why is it that the things we enjoy doing are the things that generally don’t have much benefit? We don’t gain a lot from watching TV or stalking our friends on Facebook, and yet we do it. And we keep going back to it.
I can hear your inner thoughts right now (I really can’t I just wanted to creep you out) “This proverb is about loving sleep, why’s he talking about being busy?”
Since you asked the question, I might as well answer it. Just because we’re not asleep doesn’t mean we’re not sleeping through life. Our heads may not be on our pillows, but our ambition sure is. We may be conscious, but are we awake? Or, vice versa. We may be awake, but are we conscious.
I feel like we’ve developed this mentality of “busyness” when we’re really not all that busy. Sure, some of you are busy. But just because someone’s busy doesn’t mean they are awake and living their life intentionally. And that’s kind of what I’m all about. I want all of us to be living our lives on purpose. I want us to be living intentionally. Not to just wander through life, bouncing from one shiny object to another, but to choose a destination and set a course.
So, open your eyes so that you might be satisfied. You won’t be satisfied if you are asleep. You won’t be satisfied if you’re just wander through life aimlessly. You will always feel like something is missing. You’ll feel like you spend your life recovering from every tragedy that comes. You just get back on your feet and then something else hits.
What if you spent your life going after the destination? How would that change the way you think about the problems that come along the way? You wouldn’t be living from trial to trial, you’d be living from success to success with trials here and there. You wouldn’t be wandering through life aimlessly, you’d be on course, on mission, going after what you were created to go after. You wouldn’t spend hours a day watching TV, eating junk food and comparing yourself to people you went to high school with on Facebook. You’d spend your days thinking about what you can do today to get another step closer to the mission.
The thing is, you can’t see goal if you’re eyes are closed.
The ear that hears and the eye that sees—
the Lord has made them both.
God made you. I hope you know and believe that. I hope you don’t just think of that as some kind of fairy tale thing that Christians say. I know some of you do. I know you think you’re just a product of your momma. You think you are nothing more than two people getting together. Maybe they loved each other. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe you weren’t planned, but you’re here anyway. And you have gone through life feeling like you don’t belong. You’ve walked each day feeling like you were never meant to walk this earth – and if it hadn’t been for that one night – you wouldn’t be here.
If you feel that way, I have a different message for you. You may have been unplanned when it comes to your birth parents, but you were always planned when it comes to God. Your spiritual Father planned for you to be here, on this earth, living this life that He has put you in. He planned it.
How can I say that? Well, there are other scriptures that help support this idea, but I don’t need to go there. There’s plenty here. The ear that hears and the eye that sees – the Lord has made them both. You see, this doesn’t just speak of the fact that God is the one that has given us sight and hearing. This isn’t just saying that God created our eyes and our ears. Sure it means that.
But it goes much deeper than that. It goes to the person who has the eyes and ears. God didn’t just make a bunch of floating eyes and ears. Can you imagine how freaky that would be? To see a big, giant rolling eye ball, tumbling down the sidewalk would freak most people out. Or to see a giant ear holding on for dear life as it goes flying down a zip line. That’s just messed up.
God didn’t just make eyes and ears, He made the people. And He didn’t just make the physical bodies that have a place for the eyes and ears, He made the spiritual body that fills that physical body and gives it its life. He made all of you and He has a plan for you. He gave you eyes to see things in a certain way. He gave you ears to hear things that others don’t hear. He gave you a spirit that responds to those things that you hear and see in a way that brings Him glory.
So, if you’ve been wandering through life, feeling like your very existence was a mistake – you’ve been wrong. God designed you for a purpose and has a specific plan in mind. That’s what He created you for. That’s why you’re here.
Start living like it.
Even a young man is known by his actions,
whether his activity is pure and whether it is right.
As much as you and I may not like it, we are defined by what we do. If we had it our way, we’d be defined by different things. Perhaps some of us would like to be defined by our words. Either by the words we speak, or for bloggers like myself – by the words we write. There are others of us who would like to be defined by our intentions. Things don’t always go the way we plan for them to go, but we had good intentions. We had good plans, but the things didn’t turn out the way we had planned.
But, we are not defined by those things. We are defined by our actions. We are defined by what we do. We are defined by what we accomplish.
Do I think this is just? Not necessarily. But that doesn’t make it untrue.
We all do this to others. We don’t listen to the weight-loss advice of an overweight person. We don’t believe the stories of a compulsive liar. We don’t follow in the path of a cheater.
So, how are you known? Are you known by in the same way as you think of yourself in your head? Do people see you the same way you see yourself? Or is there a gap? If there is a gap, then you know you’ve got some work to do. However, as you start to close the gap between who you hope to be and how others currently see you, you will find yourself gaining more influence in the world. You’ll have more influence in your world and the lives of those around you.
How are you known? What do people say about you when you’re not around? Do you even want to know?
We are all defined by what we do. The world looks on our actions and makes a judgement about the kind of person we are. What kind of person do others think you are?
The one who is gracious to the poor lends to the Lord,
and the Lord will repay him for his good deed.
Discipline your child, for there is hope,
but do not set your heart on causing his death.
You pull into your driveway. You’ve just spent a long day at work and you are ready to get inside. As you are getting out of your car, you see someone approaching. “If only I’d parked in the garage,” you think to yourself, “I’d be inside right now, instead I’m going to have to endure some conversation I have no interest in.”
It’s your neighbor, Ed. Ed is a widower. He lives a few houses down, so you don’t really ever interact with him. But, you got to know him one day when you were out for a walk and he needed some help. Since he’s pretty lonely, he talks a lot. He spends most of his day talking back to the tv. From the news to court tv, that’s pretty much the only conversation he has.
You care about Ed, but you know that if you engage in the conversation, you won’t be inside to eat dinner any time soon. So, you try to pretend like you didn’t see him.
But it doesn’t work. He calls out your name, and so you are obligated to turn around and say hi. You try to do everything you can to clue Ed in that you’re in a hurry to get inside. You fidget with your clothes. Maybe you loosen your tie and take off your jacket. Or you take off your watch, pull out your phone, send a text message. Etc.
He doesn’t get the hint. Actually, he doesn’t get the multitude of hints.
So, you engage in the conversation, hoping that if you give Ed the satisfaction that he needs you’ll be able to get to what you really want to do. Then Ed tells you what has happened.
His wife’s life insurance is stuck in some loop hole in the system. His social security isn’t enough to get him by until next month and he just needs a hundred dollars to get him by til next month. As soon as the life insurance kicks, or his son finally decides to visit, he’ll pay you back.
What do you do?
“The one who is gracious to the poor, lends to the Lord, and the Lord will repay him for his good deed.”
Laziness brings on a deep sleep,
and the idle person will go hungry.
The one who obeys commandments guards his life;
the one who despises his ways will die.
While the Bible is clear about the fact that the church and those who call themselves Christians are supposed to be compassionate and serving one another, there is another aspect of this that is also clear. That is that we aren’t supposed to be lazy. We’ve talked about laziness before in previous Proverbious posts, but more in terms of working.
However, there is something we should be clear about, as it pertains to the body of Christ – none of us are supposed to be lazy. We all have a role to play. We all have something we should be doing. In fact, our place in the body of Christ should do nothing less than empower us and encourage us to want to serve more and do more. We’re not just filling a task or a role, we are helping/hoping to lead people to an entirely different eternity. We shouldn’t look at what we do as an obligation, instead we should look at it as a privilege.
“The Christian stands, not under the dictatorship of a legalistic ‘you ought,’ but in the magnetic field of Christian Freedom, under the empowering of the ‘You may.'” Helmut Thielicke
We get to serve. We are blessed because we get to do what we have been gifted to do. It is not an ought to. It is not an obligation. It is a gift to us to get to serve, to get to play our role.
Paul gives a couple of warnings to the Thessalonians about laziness:
1 Thessalonians 5:14:
“Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy.”
And in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10
“But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition they received from us. 7 For you know yourselves how you must imitate us, because we did not behave without discipline among you, 8 and we did not eat anyone’s food without paying. Instead, in toil and drudgery we worked night and day in order not to burden any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.”
So, take the warning. And idle person will go hungry. Laziness brings on a deep sleep. If you’re not willing to work, you shouldn’t get to eat. If you’re not willing to serve the body as you are supposed to, why should you partake in the rewards that come from the body? Being disciplined, as in the way we live – not punishment, is how a follower of God is.