Skip to main content

I had pretty smart parents

 Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you; never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee. Wear their counsel like a winning crown, like rings on your fingers. Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you, don’t go along with them... Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look; don’t listen to them for a minute. They’re racing to a very bad end, hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on... When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens: the more you get, the less you are. (Proverbs 1:8-9)

As I was growing up, I remember that time around my teen years when I began to think I knew more than my parents. Somewhere around the age of 21 or so, magically my parents became the smartest people on the planet again! How did that happen? My parents didn't get 'magically smarter' - they were pretty doggone smart all along - I was the goofy one thinking I didn't need their advice and wisdom. The advice and wisdom they possessed wasn't 'book-learned' - it was experience bred. They had been down the road already and had looked back at some of their own misadventures, knowing exactly where they should have avoided the potholes! Both are gone from this earth now, but their wisdom lives on in my heart, escaping from time to time in tiny tears of memory as my heart hurts to no longer be able to hear that wise counsel. If I could tell teenagers something I learned along the way, I'd have to say it was the intensity of the love and grace of a loving parent outweighs any thrill we will ever enjoy by following our own devices!

As we consider our passage this morning, I want to call our attention to the last statement: "When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens: the more you get, the less you are." This was the one lesson it took me the longest to learn, despite all the warning my parents gave and encouragement to avoid those potholes. Grab all you can get - it is a pretty common philosophy of our culture, isn't it? Get more - even when you don't really need it. The more you get - the less you ARE. That is the lesson that took me the longest to learn - you actually become LESS by getting more. The word 'are' really describes the state of 'being'. We 'become' what we go after, but if the things we pursue are empty and vain promises, we will actually become less in the end. If the thing we pursue is Christ, the 'are' that we become will be 'more', but it will also be 'less'.

We become less self-centered, more other-centered. We become less needy, more willing to bless than be blessed. We become less bitter, more willing to let go of a debt we think we are owed. We become less discontent with life, more content with Christ being our all in all. As we become less, Christ becomes more. My parents' counsel? Follow the right companion in life and your path will become 'more' in your pursuit of actually becoming 'less'. Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,