Tag Archives: Proverbs 24

A Friend’s Example

A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 24:33-34 (NIV)

It was the first summer of college and, like most young college students, I needed to make some money. I had a part-time internship but it paid little. So, I cobbled together a string of jobs. Each weekday morning at 5:00 a.m. I started my day driving a paper route delivering the daily USA Today to convenience stores. In the evenings and weekends, I worked at a bookstore in the mall. I mowed a few lawns. And, I always kept my ear open for potential odd jobs. So it was, when a large denomination was holding their global conference in Iowa, I spent a week babysitting for a small gaggle of bratty pastors’ kids all day.

I had a friend who joined me in the day care operation and together we oversaw boys ages 8-11. There was a lot of down time as we watched over the kids in various activities, and so we had a lot of conversations.

It’s funny how certain verses are tied to very specific memories for me. It was during that week of babysitting that my friend and I somehow got talking about Proverbs. I remember that it surprised me a bit, because I never thought him to be one who would read the Bible. But he told me that he had a favorite passage and then he recited to me..

A little sleep, a little slumber,

    a little folding of the hands to rest—

and poverty will come on you like a thief

    and scarcity like an armed man.

He recited it with such precision and heartfelt conviction, that it has stuck with me the rest of my life. I can’t read these words without seeing folding his hands as he said the words, and hearing my friend’s unique vocal cadence saying them.

But, there’s more to this story. During that week, the two of us were mere acquaintances. That week planted seeds of friendship that grew into one of the most fruitful friendships I’ve experienced on my earthly journey. We had very different paths, he and I. In the 35 years we’ve been friends we’ve never lived in the same city (with the exception of a few summers home from college). We had very diverse academic and vocational paths. We’ve had very different spiritual journeys. In fact, his perfect and sincere recitation of these two verses is a rare and exceptional display of any sort of spiritual or religious conviction from him.

Thus, I find myself in the quiet this morning thinking about me and my friend hustling our butts off as teenagers and working multiple odd-jobs day and night to make money for college. I’ve observed from afar my friend pursuing his own difficult academic and career path with diligence and conviction. I’ve witnessed and celebrated with him as he has experienced tremendous success in his chosen field.

Looking back, I realize that the Proverbs he recited with such conviction, on that hot Iowa afternoon so many years ago, were words that he had ingested into his very life. He was speaking them from his soul. He embraced their wisdom and it was leading to him to the development of the virtue of hard work in his studies, his vocation, and his life.

I’m grateful to my friend. By his living example, he has taught me that it is one thing to read the words and understand what they say. It’s another thing to internalize their wisdom and let them motivate and guide my behavior.

<— Click on Solomon for an indexed list of previous chapter-a-day posts from this series from Proverbs!

About This Post

These chapter-a-day posts began in 2006. It’s a very simple concept. I endeavor each weekday to read one chapter from the Bible. I then blog about my thoughts, insights, and feelings about the content of that chapter. Everyone is welcome to share this post, like this post, or add your own thoughts in a comment. Thank you to those who have become faithful, regular or occasional readers along the journey along with your encouragement.

In 2019 I began creating posts for each book, with an indexed list of all the chapters for that book. You can find the indexed list by clicking on this link.

Prior to that, I kept a cataloged index of all posts on one page. You can access that page by clicking on this link.

tomvanderwell@gmail.com @tomvanderwell

Making a Memory

Here I Go Again (EP)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went past the field of a sluggard,
    past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
thorns had come up everywhere,
    the ground was covered with weeds,
    and the stone wall was in ruins.
I applied my heart to what I observed
    and learned a lesson from what I saw:
A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.
Proverbs 24:30-34 (NIV)

I’m amazed at how our minds and memories work. If I’m listening to the radio and hear the Hollies‘  Long, Cool Woman in a Black Dress I am suddenly transported to Camp Idlewood, Rainy Lake, Minnesota where my family vacationed the first two weeks of August every year. I’m in Cabin #3 with my sister along with our friends Matt, Piper John, and Mark. The song is playing from an 8-track tape. Mark is being a clown and making everyone laugh as we try to sing the lead singer’s “Whoo!” at the right place in the instrumental bridge. It’s raining outside. I can picture it like it’s happening right now.

You find yourself in a funk and don’t know why. Then you remember something sad and depressing that long ago happened at this same time of the year. Your conscious mind had forgotten but your senses remember.

When I read the verses above I was suddenly talking to my friend Spike. It was the year between my freshman and sophomore year in college. Spike and I hung out a lot that summer, and one day he talked about these verses which he’d recently read. They made an impression on him and he quoted the last part of it from memory. That, in turn, made an impression on me. Thirty years later I read the verses and think of Spike. I think of the example of hard work he’s been to me in his academic pursuits and his successful career as a university professor.

We are making memories for ourselves, but more importantly for others. They can be positive memories or negative ones. The memories we create for others can be either healing or destructive. We choose through our thoughts, words, actions and relationships. How cool to imagine that someone might read a verse from God’s message and have a fond memory of me. Those are the kinds of memorable impressions I want to make for others.

Today, I want to live in such a way that it will be a pleasant memory for myself and others.

 

[An index of all Tom’s chapter-a-day posts covering every book and chapter]

Chapter-a-Day Proverbs 24

Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy
Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy. Image via Wikipedia

An honest answer 
      is like a kiss of friendship.
Proverbs 24:26 (NLT) 

Along the journey, especially with respect to my vocation, I’ve commonly been asked very direct questions from people in authority. It’s not always a comfortable position to be in. I have learned from experience, however, that I am always best served to give an honest, direct answer whether it is what the person wants to hear or not.

The results are not always positive. Solomon said that an honest answer is a kiss of friendship, but that is only when the recipient of the answer recognizes the gift that you’ve given them in your honesty. An honest answer can just as easily be perceived as Judas’ kiss if the hearer is unwilling to hear and accept the honest truth of your response.

I cannot control whether the hearer receives of rejects my honest answer. That is his or her responsibility, not mine. My responsibility is simply to provide the honest answer no matter how I think the hearer will react.