I’m so convinced of my own innocence, until I uncover the motives in my heart. Then I know I’m busted. Yes, my motive was to grab some attention for myself, not necessarily to ease someone else’s burden; or to get done quicker so I could chat with a friend, instead of doing my work with excellence as unto the Lord; or whatever other excuse I come up with.
These two verses from Proverbs 16 are listed together perfectly. The answer to keeping my motives right is for me to commit everything I do to the Lord.
“All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:2-3 NIV.
Whatever I do. One thing I like about this is I have lots of things to do, so that means I’ll be talking with God a lot during the day. That’s reward enough, but there’s the promise that my plans will succeed, as well – because they’re committed to him.
“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20 NIV.
One reason I like this verse is because it supports the idea of being lifelong learners as we grow in faith. The writer, an older leader, is instructing a younger leader to teach older women to teach younger ones how to behave as followers of Jesus. He says,
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.” Titus 2:3 NIV
My children agree I qualify as an older woman. I’m also a woman who needs to be taught. I want to live reverently (the dictionary says reverence means showing respect) and learn better how to do that, but convincing me to avoid addiction to wine would be a waste of a teacher’s effort. I’ve never had an interest in drinking alcohol to excess.
As for suggesting changing how I talk about others – that’s another matter.
Would you have difficulty teaching an older woman to watch her tongue? Would you be willing to try? Tricky business there. However, if we’re effective she might take over teaching that lesson herself.
I’d like to think this older woman would.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis
“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” Proverbs 4:7 (NIV).
Like standing in a racing wagon with my bonnet blown back, feet braced, pulling the reins and yelling “Whoa,” it’s my job to direct my anxious thoughts. The distractions of life are fierce for me this time of year, and I often feel obliged to race after every good work that enters my head for my family, my community, my world. But wisdom keeps my holiday stress under control and my horses where they belong.
The most important thing is wisdom, with the emphasis on the word thing; more important than any thing, than every thing. I know following Jesus, working hard, loving my neighbor, is what I am called to do. Other than these values, what thing should I acquire? Wisdom.
If you’d like to follow me in my pursuit of wisdom, I’m going to post my daily proverb and comment, and I’d love to hear from you, either here or on Facebook. Let’s start January 1 with Proverbs chapter 1. I’ll post a favorite or two from that chapter, then on January 2 I’ll do the same with chapter 2.
Wisdom says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me” Proverbs 8:17 (NIV).
by Kathy Sheldon Davis