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Friday, October 18, 2013

You a freshly painted, shiny-signed storehouse?

To scorn wisdom is to cut short your days.  How many of us really want to cut our days short?  Most of us actually hope we will find some way to add another hour to the day, day to the week, or years to our lives!  We just don’t have the time to get everything done we hoped to accomplish.  We can become so distracted by the things which promise us gain, influence, status, or value in life that we miss the true things that will.  The promise of God is that he will not let the godly starve - it doesn't say if the godly work themselves to the bone, tire themselves out in the efforts they exert, etc.  It simply says God won't starve the honest soul.  He even will satisfy the cravings of our soul - the fulfillment of those cravings may be with something quite different than we'd pursue on our own.  Left to our own devices, we'd likely pursue the stuff which falls "just short" of what God intends for us. They are "good", but they aren't "great".

God won’t starve an honest soul, but he frustrates the appetites of the wicked. (Proverbs 10:3 MSG)

Did you realize an "appetite" is anything for which you have developed a fondness?  Now, read that passage again - God won't fulfill everything we are "fond" of especially when the "fondness" we have will harm us!  The things we "like" may not always be the things which will produce the best results in our lives.  For example, I am fond of spending the evening reclining on the sofa, but the meals I'd choose if I came right home and just plopped down on the couch would be less nourishing and contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle.  I would find myself indulging in far too much take out or delivery.  So, before I do something I am fond of, I run it through my "Good" or "Best" filter.  It may be good, but it may not always be best.  When I "filter" my choices this way, I find I make a whole lot more meals from scratch, enjoy them with mom, clean up the kitchen, THEN veg a little on the couch!  Maybe I could add a walk in after the meal and I would move from "good" to "great" in my choices, but I am getting there!

One thing for sure, we need to learn to take advantage of our "window of opportunity".  There is far too little time spent focusing on the opportunities right in front of us.  We tend to focus on the stuff in the "future", totally missing what exists right in front of us.  Maybe this is why the writer of this proverb also penned these words:  Make hay while the sun shines—that’s smart; go fishing during harvest—that’s stupid. (vs. 5 MSG)  A wise person works while it is the season to work - knowing the harvest needs to be brought in.  The season can pass, opportunities brush right past you, if you are not paying attention.  The opportunities which matter most are usually those which don't scream the loudest, cost us a little more of ourselves, and seem a little bit less likely to provide us the "immediate" reward.  The harvest takes time - but knowing what to plant, when it is the season to harvest, and what will fill our storehouses with the best stuff is not a skill possessed by the unwise!

If you have ever been around a fool for a while, you will notice one thing which seems to be the "tell-tale" sign of their foolishness - their need to "cover up" their bumbling.  The fool chooses to fish - hoping no one will notice the storehouse has no real "reserve" in it because he neither invested the time, nor the energy in the harvest.  So, he paints the storehouse, even trims it with a shiny sign indicating it is the storehouse, but on the inside - nothing! The wise embrace instruction - allowing it to affect the things they develop a fondness toward.  The fool resists instruction - allowing their own appetites to allow them to miss opportunities to be filled to overflowing.  People of integrity have a firm footing - they have chosen the best path.  The fool slips and slides their way through life because they have no soundness of footing. 

As we return to our passage, we see it is God who is frustrating the appetites of the fool.  Does this surprise you?  Wouldn't you think the fool is responsible for the frustration he feels?  He is in every sense of the word, but we need to see the love of our heavenly Father in actually intervening to "frustrate" the fool's appetites - the things which he develops an affinity toward, but which will leave him empty and wanting in times of leanness.  By frustrating the fool's appetites, he is seeking to expose the emptiness of his freshly painted, shiny signed storehouse!  He doesn't do this to demean the fool, but to redeem him!  If God can intervene in the midst of our foolishness, he can save us from a whole lot of things we will just bumble through trying to cover up in the end!  

An honest soul - what does this mean?  I believe God just wants us to be transparent with him and others.  The fool has trouble with this because if he were to open the storehouse doors, everyone would see exactly how empty it is on the inside!  An honest soul doesn't keep the doors tightly shut - he may not have a "full" storehouse yet, but at least he is honest about what he has. This is all God asks of us - be honest with him and others.  Don't make excuses for your choices which might have left you lacking a little, but confess them, seek God's help to set those choices right, and allow him to begin to fill your storehouse to the max.  The wise also know there are times when the storehouse needs a good "sweeping out".  In other words, they know before harvest can be brought in, the "chaff" from the "last season" has to be swept out.  In preparing to receive, we are also revealing what it is we are focusing on receiving.  There is a clarifying of our motives which comes in preparing for the harvest God will bring when the fondness of our heart is directed toward his "infilling".  Just sayin!