PSALMS, PROVERBS AND PARABLES
Proverbs 21. [verse 2] ‘We can justify our every deed but God looks at our motives’. We can find an excuse or a reason for doing almost anything, but God always looks behind the reason for what we do or want! He always checks our motives! Often times we have to make difficult decisions and life choices and the right actions to take are often difficult to discern. It helps I think to make those decisions if we check our motives for doing them! For example, what would Jesus do in a similar situation? How will what I do affect others, family, friends, work colleagues etc? Will the outcome build up or tear down? What will be the consequences from the deed/s? Would God be pleased with what I do and why I do it? If we do something only to get something back for ourselves we do not please God! Is what I do for me to be seen or for God to be seen through me? Is it selfish or selfless? God always looks more at the WHY we do something than WHAT we do!
[21 verse 5] ‘Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty’. It seems to me that the “quick fix” and “the fast result” are the order of the day! There seems to be no room for steady plodding! For me faithful completion of ordinary mundane tasks brings lasting satisfaction, contentment and is a great accomplishment! Such work is carried out by discipline and diligence and is the result of strong character. For me the ‘I want it and I want it now’ attitude smacks of immaturity and childish petulance! Hasty speculation and ‘the quick buck’ mentality helped to get us in the mess of a recession we are experiencing still! Hasty speculation of the bankers has created suffering and poverty, but not for them I hasten to add. What God commences He completes however long it takes Him! [Philippians 1:6] So, don’t look for quick and easy answers! Be a diligent and faithful servant of God.
[Verse 20] ‘The wise person saves for the future, but the foolish person spends whatever they get.’ Listen to this. “Easy credit has many living on the edge of bankruptcy. The desire to keep up and accumulate more pushes people to spend every penny they earn, [and their wage has usually been spent before the pick it up!] And then they dig in to their overdraft and stretch their credit to the limit. But anyone who spends all they have is spending more than they can afford. A wise person puts money aside for when they may have less. God approves of foresight and restraint. God’s children need to examine and re-evaluate their lifestyles to see whether their spending is God-pleasing or merely self-pleasing”. [LAB Bible] A quick cursory glance at Genesis 37-46 and the story of Joseph will confirm this Bible principle! John and Charles Wesley’s mother taught them both to have this attitude to money: ‘spend some, save some and give some away’. I think that is sage advice! A final bit of sage advice would be “don’t forget your tithe to God!” You say “I can’t afford to tithe!” I say, “You can’t afford not to tithe!” The tithe is the seed for the future harvest! It is an act of faith in God’s faithfulness and provision.
PRAYER Heavenly Father God. Thank you for searching my heart and keeping a check on my motives. I know that even my own heart would try to fool and trick me in to believing everything I do is justified and that all my motives are pure. Thank you for your honest and straight dealings with me. Thank you for teaching me that steady plodding is the best way to live. It has taken me years to learn this and I’m still learning, but thank you that through your word and my great mentor The Holy Spirit, I am slowly and ploddingly learning these lessons. Thank you Lord for teaching me the wise principles of prudence and balance in all things! It is so easy to become a miserly and mean Ebenezer Scrooge or a squandering spendthrift. Help me to be like John and Charles Wesley who were able to spend some, save some, and give some away. Please also keep me in check regards my tithe and help me to never ever fail to sow that seed. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.