So, my dear friends, listen carefully; those who embrace these my ways are most blessed. Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don’t squander your precious life. Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me, awake and ready for me each morning, alert and responsive as I start my day’s work. When you find me, you find life, real life, to say nothing of God’s good pleasure. But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul; when you reject me, you’re flirting with death. (Proverbs 8:32-36)
We began to look at this passage yesterday and I would like to focus on the idea of becoming 'nurturing' individuals today. Nurturing carries the idea of protection. We protect what we value most, don't we? I have insurance on my car, not so much because it is the law, but because it gets me too and from everywhere I need to be. To be without it for any length of time, or to lose it completely, would place me in a position of having to walk long distances in the Arizona heat - something not very appealing to me! I "insure" my vehicle because I value the convenience of having this transportation. The insurance is a means of protecting this huge investment. The same is true in every relationship - we invest in, watch over, and insure the existence of it because we have come to value it. It has a "declared worth" in our hearts and minds.
Nurturing speaks to the support and encouragement which is so desperately needed in times of our spiritual, emotional, and even physical growth and development. Relationships require support and encouragement as they move or transition from one level to the next. Nothing is easy as it applies to moving into a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God or another individual. Both require much support - both flourish when they are encouraged. We sometimes experience relationship "burnout" because we don't feel the support of another, nor do we sense there is any encouragement from the other to keep pursuing any depth within the relationship. At this point, what we do in our relationships with each other determines whether they will "last" or "split apart". Sometimes the difference is made is the tiniest bit of encouragement - even a glimmer of light is better than nothing at all.
What we have been speaking about today is something we might call relationship development. We want to guard against 'squandering' the life we have been given - including every relationship we have within our life. Focus first on your relationship with God, then on the ones he gives you for that day-to-day support. We cannot be in relationship with anyone if there is any form of arrested development - if development stops, there is a lack of continued growth. In other words, death ensues. Where there is a lack of growth, there will be insufficient "supply" in our storehouses. To ensure "full" storehouses, we must focus on the development and growth of that which results in their "filling". Anything short of watching "for" and "after" those things which really provide for the ultimate "filling" of our storehouses is to neglect some of the greatest opportunities we are afforded. Just sayin!
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