Proverbs 19:4 Rich Friend, Poor Friend

How many times did I want to participate in a group activity but could not because I could not afford it? Many of my friends were going, but I had to stay behind.

There was once a girl. At the time, I thought she was the one (Apropos, she was not). When she moved across the state, I did not have the means to visit as often as I wished. In time, she went her way. And years later, I finally did find the right one.

Wealth makes many friends, but the poor is separated from his friend.

Proverbs 19:4

Instead of building wealth back then, I developed poor spending habits. I increased my debt, and consequently, my way of life suffered. I bought now and found myself paying what seemed like forever. No wonder my social life was not enviable.

“What is the proper limit to wealth?” Seneca asked, “It is, first, to have what is necessary, and second, to have what is enough.” The line may sometimes seem murky. Too much is not necessary; not enough is undesirable.

Proverbs 18:9 Brother to a Great Destroyer

Last year, floods wiped out the corn fields down the street from where we live. I always love driving by and seeing those crops. But last year, there was nothing to see but devastation. Nature gives and she takes away. Such is life!

There are rumors of people in the Midwest who are being offered money to burn their crops. Imagine the livelihoods at stake. Nothing to sell and nothing to eat. Tragic!

Imagine a person who would burn a crop for no other reason than for destruction. In a single stroke he would destroy the farmer’s hard work and the customer’s food supply.

He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

Proverbs 18:9

What a little difference there is between the destroyer and the one who doesn’t even do the work! We were designed to create and to do meaningful work. Failure to do so would make us kin to the destroyer.

Proverbs 26:4 Answer a Fool, Be a Fool

Can a person talk sense to the one that does not have any?

If one has closed his mind to reason, can another open it for him?

Some debates are pointless. When there is no rhetoric, when one or both parties are refusing to listen to the other’s point of view, then no progress can be made. All you have is what is seen in American politics today. Rather than a healthy discourse leading to positive change, we have each side trying to bully the other.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him.

Proverbs 26:4

Wisdom would suggest an open mind, a desire to understand. Close it off, and improvement ceases. And arguing with a fool? Foolishness indeed!

Proverbs 24:10 Small Strength

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.

Proverbs 24:10

Such a point-blank statement we would do well to keep in mind! Nobody wants to be considered weak. Lacking courage is not a desired virtue. What can we do if we find ourselves in this boat?

Train.

We can build our courage up. We can practice doing hard things that takes us out of our comfort zones. And what is one of the best ways to train our courage?

Train our bodies.

A strong, fit body leads to higher self-esteem. And a person who believes in himself, he will be more likely to step up when he is needed.

Discipline is needed to work your body. The mind must tell the body to get going and to keep going. The mind tells the body which foods are going to provide the greatest benefit and which foods are not worth eating.

And if the mind is the catalyst to kickstart the body’s motion, the heart is the coach that tells the body to keep going. The heart is where courage resides and where it is trained. Conditioning of the heart makes it stronger.

If I don’t want to faint in the day of adversity, then I must strengthen my courage. I can start by doing a little “something uncomfortable” each day. I can build up gradually through training and preparation. In time, I can be strong. I can be courageous.

Proverbs 22:7 The Rich and the Poor

The rich rule over the poor,

If you have enough money, you can pay to have others work for you. Some have so much, they can even dictate governmental policy giving them the ability to truly rule over the poor.

and the borrower is servant to the lender. -Proverbs 22:7

nobody would willingly want to be a slave, yet they have no problem going into debt for most of their lives. Can you ever be rich if you are in debt? Can you ever be free?

Proverbs 20:6 A Faithful Man

What is a faithful man? At first thought, it is one that is loyal, dependable, and can be counted on. He doesn’t say what he is going to do. Nope! He just does it. If you want to find a faithful man, then you must look to his actions.

And what would be the opposite of a faithful man? Well, to find one, you must also look to his actions, or the lack thereof. For this person will talk a good deal and accomplish little. He will have plenty of words, but he won’t be loyal or dependable, and you would better off not counting on him.

Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?

Proverbs 20:6

Proverbs 19:11 Slow to Anger

There is a type of discretion in which a person can speak without causing the listener offense. This is not weakness. It is not beating around the bush. It is honest and directed in such a way that the listener can walk away with his feelings intact.

If a speaker is unable to do this, they will often cover their inability with the phrase, “I meant no offense.” It is not the best approach, but in this day and age, it is usually accepted.

And then there is a total lack of discretion. The speaker burns everything in his path without remorse or regard for the listener. This approach requires little thoughtfulness and even less tact.

Thinking before you speak and choosing your words carefully will eliminate many quarrels. You will be less likely to get angry and less likely to anger your audience.

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.

Proverbs 19:11

And if you are the listener, consider the latter half of this proverb. It is your glory to not be offended. These days, this is not something we see often. It seems that many of us are offended by the slightest provocation. But as Epictetus once said, “Any person capable of angering you becomes your master. They can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by them.” The offense is only offensive if you allow it to be so.

Let us, therefore, put our egos aside. If we truly want the glory, we should take the high road and not let ourselves be offended.

Click for 10 Reasons to Slow Your Anger

Proverbs 17:27-28 Quiet and Calm

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.

Proverbs 17:27

The sparing of words and a calm spirit. I wish I could say this is me. But alas, it is not. Too many times I have spewed out words like the breaking of a dam. And every single time, I have later regretted it. And though, I strive for a calm spirit, the mastery over my emotions has been a lifetime battle.

Should I exclaim, “Woe is me,” having neither knowledge nor understanding? Not yet. All is not lost. I realize my shortcomings. Now, I must continue to practice. Practice—what I need to master both tongue and spirit.

Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.

Proverbs 17:28

A coworker once told me the reason he doesn’t speak much. When I first posed this question to him when he was a still a teenager, he gave me this profound answer, “I don’t want to sound like an idiot.” His words echoed of ancient wisdom. He is no fool that keeps his mouth shut. So much I have yet to learn!

Proverbs 15:19 Like a Hedge of Thorns

The thorns tore at my skin, ripping my uniform to shreds. Every step was slow and treacherous. The last thing I wanted to do was go down. I looked at my watch; time was ticking. My next checkpoint was just ahead. As a young soldier, I was inexperienced at land navigation. Therefore, I found myself tangled in a field of thorns.

As the years went by, I did eventually get better. With practice and experience, I learned to stay out of the briar patch.

The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the diligent is a highway.

Proverbs 15:19

The lazy man may never know it, because once he is stuck, he doesn’t have the drive to extricate himself. He doesn’t know that if he keeps going, the way will get easier. This is true in any endeavor we undertake. If we allow laziness to creep in, we will find ourselves tangled and unable to move. Only through diligence and persistence, can we find ourselves travelling in an easier fashion. Discipline equals freedom (Jocko Willink). And in this case, discipline is needed to get started and to keep going.

Proverbs 13:7 Faking It vs. Making It

Meet Bob. Bob has a good job that pays a big salary. He has a big house, a fancy car, and amazing purchasing power. He has all the latest gadgets, goes on exotic vacations, and will gladly display all of his wealth.

On the surface, it appears Bob has it all. However, appearances are deceiving. He has a mortgage on his big house. A lease on his fancy car, and his purchasing power is due to his large lines of credit. If he were to lose his job, how would he pay all his bills? In fact, he can never leave his job as it provides the only means for his lifestyle. Bob has made himself a slave to his possessions.

There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.

Proverbs 13:7

Bob’s life is full of stress. He and his family are used to the good life. Anything below it is unacceptable. He might look rich, but he has nothing.

What kind of stress does the rich man have when he lives below his means? What kind of stress does any of us have if we live below our means? Of course, we may not have the big, fancy, and newest possessions, but how important is all that stuff anyway.