If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.
Humans classify people around them, known and related, in two broad categories: enemies and allies. All is seen in terms of war and we look at everybody else as people who support us or as people who oppose us. Those who think like us and therefore are friends and those who assume positions different from ours automatically become our greatest adversaries. We see everything from the utilitarian point of view. If a person is useful for our purposes we consider him as an ally and if the person does not contribute towards achieving our goals we consider him as a personal enemy. The way we treat our neighbor depends on which category he belongs, all in accordance with this simplistic classification to which we subject him.
This is not the way that God has taught us to behave through his word. He has shown us something profoundly more radical that flows counter-current to the practices of the world. According to what God teaches us, our love can not be oriented according to our understanding of the world or to the rationale we use to classify people as enemies or friends. Treatment should be equal for both because God commands it. As with all of God’s commandments, obedience brings blessings and rewards but they do not come until we have fulfilled our part of the agreement which is to obey God. Let’s not see our neighbor through the glass of the categories and let us share with them the love God has poured into our hearts, regardless of the position they hold in relation to ours. Enough of hatred, envy and war. Let us obey the Master. To God alone be the glory!
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet,
but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
Many liars have apparently managed to get away with by the indiscriminate dissemination of falsehoods. Some do it out of necessity and others do it for pleasure, because their pride is to be “smarter” than others. In either case the results are the same. Deceit can not lead to anything good because it is something that goes totally against the essence of God because God is truth. The only being interested in the proliferation and advancement of lies is their own father and author, Satan. When someone cheats to achieve a goal or to get out of a problem he is falling into the oldest trap that has ever existed on earth. And do not try to split hairs by making a difference between regular lies and white lies. No matter what adjective one uses to disguise it, it remains a lie. A lie by any other name would stink as bad.
Deception, in addition to destroying our testimony and our relationship with God is something that is not pleasant to God. In fact, the Lord abhors falsehood and entanglement. Let us beware as to be transparent in everything we do and say because otherwise we would be giving in ground to the enemy and making it easy for him to advance his campaign to our destruction. The Lord Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.” Let us then go forward on the path of truth no matter if ocassionally it seems to be way too narrow and difficult to navigate. With the help of the Lord, later our paths will be widened so that our progress towards the Lord’s presence will be accomplished more readily. To God alone be the glory!
“Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
“Come, eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of insight.”
Wisdom is constantly inviting fools to leave aside their foolishness and to enter the path of righteousness. But in a world where there are many voices competing for our attention ─and many of us being attracted by them─ her voice is almost imperceptible. If we could at least stop paying attention for a moment to these numerous and harmful voices we would be able to clearly hear the valuable invitation wisdom is sending. The problem now is that according to our value system ─which really belongs to the world, we have just adopted it─ wisdom does not occupy a place of importance. In fact, beauty queens, movie actors and popular music stars among others are accepted and excused by us when they say the most stupid atrocities of this world and is rarely the case when one of these people shows intelligence, prudence, modesty and self-control when they open their mouth. And this is only one example of how distorted our value system has turned.
There will always be space available for wisdom in our lives. To follow and be advised by her is always a good business decision. The earlier in life we allow her to take control of our lives, the more we will be able to reap the full benefits that result of associating with her. Her main reward is life and abundant life. Stupidity will get us to no other place but shame, but wisdom will bring us the Lord’s favor. To God alone be the glory!
Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.
Man, who was created in God’s image, has one or more genes in his chromosomes that equip him with creativity or the ability to create. Human creations typically begin with the generation of an idea that, if physically feasible, can be transformed into work or action. It is in the process of generating ideas where we find the open door of the imagination. Some of the ideas taken from the fantasy world have been converted into concrete objects or actions but most of them just remain as they are, that is, mere fantasies. There are many people who like to visit this world of fiction, but not to take ideas and turn them into works but to seek an escape from reality. Their life is to imagine entelechy after entelechy and frolic among them but their ideas never come to fruition. They spend a lifetime dreaming of the “may be” and therefore fail to give due attention to the “is” and the “ought to be.” We can afford to spend a reasonable length of time daydreaming about opportunities and desires, but if we dedicate too much time to this world of illusion, most likely we will end up losing touch with reality.
Human beings were created to be engaged in productive activities that generate satisfaction. Those who think that work is a curse or a devious way of punishment are completely wrong. The truth is that whoever does not work will see that his situation degenerates day by day and every day that passes he becomes a poorer person, both physically and spiritually. Let us manage with much wisdom and seriousness the time we dedicate to solace in this world of fantasy and dreams. Let us give thanks to God because we have been given the gift of imagination and creativity that allows us to participate, as beings created in God’s image, in the creative process and also because we are blessed with a job or an activity that keeps us busy, productive, satisfied and grateful to God. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged abundance, Christianity, faith, fantasy, food, God, Jesus, land, love, poverty, Proverbs 28, spirituality, wealth, wisdom, work
They wander about for food
and howl if not satisfied.
The world, one of our three great enemies, has a very special way to take advantage of our weaknesses to make us fall. Exploiting our uncontrollable pride, the world offers status and recognition in three areas that support and feed off each other. These are fame, money and power. Achieving visibility in any of them gives us the way forward in any of the other two. For example, for him who has much money, it is very easy to be famous or to wield power. The same is true of fame and power with respect to riches. The world displays this three-pronged attack to destroy our souls by offering us the ability to enjoy whatever our sinful nature desires. People can enjoy sybaritic and hedonistic lifestyles because they have an important position in any one of these areas. Sex, drugs, alcohol, idleness and debauchery ─among many other things─ are the goals of those who allow the wiles of the world to entice them. The overwhelming strength of this negative influence is capable of silencing and immobilizing the conscience of those who are seduced by it.
Our beloved Lord Jesus Christ said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Just as the sailors of the mythical Greek king Odysseus, who managed to avoid crashing their ship on the rocks by plugging their ears with beeswax in order to avoid hearing the beautiful and tempting songs of the Sirens; we must turn a deaf ear to the temptations the world offers us to make us deviate from the straight path that God has prepared for each one of us. Only God’s transforming power can keep us from falling into the shadowy nets of the traps the world has set in our path. Remember the words of the Apostle John: “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” Only to God be the glory!