My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger,
if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor. Give your eyes no sleep
and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
And this is probably why a whole bunch of us – or sure, maybe just me – don’t have a credit card. No, we spend on our online transactions with money we know we have, instead of holding off payment for a later time, when our money may no longer be with us. I can’t remember where I read it, and it may be also in the Scripture – yeah, I’m 90% sure it is – but I certainly won’t forget the very sobering point: That the borrower is always going to be slave to the lender – and I believe this, even if, say, the borrower, the lender, or both of the parties involved forget about the debt made in the first place. Even if the debt is no longer brought to memory, as long as it remains it’s bound to stay, at least in the mind of the borrower; and sure, it may be well concealed or buried under more memories made, but you can be sure that it wouldn’t be so easily purged from the borrower’s memory banks.
Or, well, the only way to purge it is to settle it. Pay for it. Pay for it as soon a you can, before power and other resources are unnecessarily wasted. The Teacher said himself: ‘Give your eyes no sleep… save yourself.’
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
First of all, it does help to have a routine. That is, not necessarily in line with what was pointed out to do here – to imitate the ant – but just a series of activities that you commit to doing each and every day, no questions asked. For me, I seem to have whittled down my routine to a simple two-item list: That is, to (1) workout, and to (2) write my 1000 words a day.
Two things when it comes to having a routine – (1) once you’re finished with what you commit to do in a given day, the rest of the day is basically yours, but it isn’t necessarily yours to slack for the rest of the day: No, there’s time to do one or a combination of so many things: Generally, you can invest in yourself, by way of spending time to do any hobbies – and remember, these hobbies aren’t necessarily time wasters. Consider what Naval Ravikant suggests, and that is for us to have three hobbies – One to make us rich, one to make us smarter, and one to make us healthier. And, yes, you can see here that I consider my routine to be my hobbies, and my hobbies to be my routines. Now, as to a hobby to make me rich, well, I’m working on that.
Once you’re done with what you’ve committed to doing on the daily, you can also invest in yourself by way of investing your time into others. There is much more for me to see regarding this perspective, but I do believe that you do invest in yourself with whatever you invest into other people – any resources invested into a relationship would certainly enrich all parties involved, one way or another. You don’t necessarily have to understand it to know that it works.
Another benefit to having a routine to stick to is (2) what you do consistently doesn’t just benefit you in the short term (by ways mentioned above), but just as you can set your accounts to compound interest, so what you do consistently compounds as well. Take intermittent fasting, or exercise, where this is especially true. Don’t expect to see your abs pop out immediately after just one workout – no,a good physique is one that requires, among other things, consistency: You see the reward of your consistency as you stay consistent. It’s something true, too, in instances of your routine that involve some sort of practice. What you thought was difficult at first will eventually become second nature, given enough time and commitment.
Now I guess this is all so easy to express and share, as in from one seemingly idealistic point of view – and I think that’s the point. It’s easy to learn, just so that you can focus more energy into the application, and my, that application does take much more than just working hard one day.
A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech,
winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger,
with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord;
therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
Of course, lest we forget, there is such a thing as having bad routines, and we certainly aren’t immune to having bad habits. Do you want to know how to figure out how your routines or habits are bad? Well, give it enough time, and eventually, calamity will come upon you, and in a moment you will be broken beyond healing. And take note, you may think that it’s sudden, but I believe the calamity comes just as a weighing scale would eventually crack and break if you put just one weight unit above its capacity. There are certain consequences to bad routines that are as certain benefits to good habits – that is, you wouldn’t see the effects every time you do them, but when they do come, you’re sure to be overwhelmed.
And, as pointed out here, so it is with someone tagged as ‘worthless’ – In the Teacher’s eye this is someone who is as the verses state: Wicked. And what is a wicked man apparently bound to do? He not only lies with his mouth but devotes his entire body (his eyes, feet, and fingers) to devise ‘evil’, which involves, among other things, sowing discord among others.
Is wickedness a mere attribute, a mere property? No, I think that wickedness is not the foundation; it is more than just an adjective, but collective wickedness – that is, what comes out in our words and actions – is a mere overflow to the real root cause – that is, a perverted heart.
I think that’s what I want to point out, coming from this set of verses: The perverted heart is set up to experience calamity suddenly, and when it does come, it is irreversible and beyond healing. And sure, you can do so much to treat the speech and the actions of a person, but if the heart isn’t what changes, you can’t expect good habits to stick.
Of course, as Christians, we are so fortunate to know that Jesus Christ didn’t just come and do what He did, for us to fix what we say, and what we do. No, God doesn’t leave things like our eternal salvation to chance: Christ performed what we would now know as the ministry of reconciliation: By Christ’s actions, He slew our old selves, including our own perverted hearts, and when He rose from the dead, so we rose with Him, New Creations and Temples of the Holy Spirit. By Christ’s words, we have been assured of how we would be saved from sudden calamity (“I will never leave you nor forsake you”), because we have been healed of the root condition that doomed us to death – sin has been separated from us (“It is finished”).
Folks, after going through all of this, I just want to encourage us all to take heart, for we see yet again how Christ’s salvation is appreciated, from so many angles: For He paid for the debt that enslaved us, and He did what He did to ensure that we have been made New Creations, no longer with perverted hearts, just so all that we do now has no smear of wickedness.
Christ gave everything up for us to have worth in the eyes of our God, whom we now call our everlasting Father.
And, see, there’s another thing. Because Christ gave us worth, so not only are we able to give worth, but we are able to reveal worth where it may be found. What am I trying to say? We can jump into reading the Bible, being certain of the fact and truth that we are under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, who is able and willing to give us revelations. I’ve talked about this before, from another point of view: Christ is the Living Word who adds Life to the words we read, and He is the Word of Life who adds the Word into our daily lives.
Last Sunday I told the congregation that I had two options of what Scripture to discuss, and I was blessed to have shared my insights on Psalm 23:1 to them, just as I have written here previously – it was pretty hard for me to squeeze it all into 20 minutes but I got it done.
The other option I had was to talk about the entire Psalm 88. I would read the entire Psalm out, and point out that the one who wrote it wasn’t David, but it was Heman. Heman the Ezrahite, who is mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31 as one of the men whom Solomon surpassed in wisdom – and I suppose this implies that he had a degree of wisdom, himself. We also derive from 1 Chronicles 2:6 that he belongs to the tribe of Judah. The Psalm itself was known as a ‘Maskil’ – the ESV further elaborates by saying that this piece had some ‘musical or liturgical’ purpose.
The point I intend to deliver is this: There may be times that all we could do is just to cry out to the Lord without any sort of solution in mind – just, really, to complain to Him. I could see how some people could say that we couldn’t do that – after all, didn’t the Israelites grumble, and weren’t they punished as a result? Friends, let us never forget Christ as our Living Word – He is the one who gives Life, not only to the words we read, but also to the words we speak, yes, I dare say even our complaints.
Christ is the One, after all, who, when He came, told His disciples to cast all of their burdens upon Him (Matthew 6:33). He said this before He lay down His life. And to confirm His willingness to listen, after He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven – He speaks through Peter, who writes in one of his epistles to cast all our anxieties to the Lord, for He cares for us (2 Peter 5:7).
And here, again, we have yet another perspective of our blood-purchased salvation to appreciate: Christ paid such a price, He paid off our debt, not only for us to be new creations, but, apparently, in our being new creations, sure: We see that Christ adds life the words we read… But He apparently is also the Living Word that is the Life behind the words we speak!
I pray, as you have waded through all that I’ve had to share today, and all that I mentioned I will share later, that you have been blessed. Lord knows whoever listens to me in, oh, half an hour, will be blessed as well.
Not by my might, but by His Spirit.
I love your explanation of the growth of you blog on your home page. The older I get the less I am concerned about what people think of me. I’m just going to do my best every day to be the person God has made me to be, and encourage as many folks as I can. I want to be so shiny they will ask what’s different, and then I get to share Jesus with them! You keep up the good work!
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Hey, thanks for taking the time to let me know what was on your mind – I haven’t changed my Home text for the longest time, but I guess that’s the point! Indeed, let Christ shine through you the way that only you could shine. God bless you more and more!
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And may His blessings chase you down and overtake you!
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