Wisdom from the Proverbs
Wisdom from the Proverbs
When you read the book of Proverbs it doesn’t take long to see that the topic of work receives a lot of attention. Lazy people (often called “sluggards” even in modern translations!) are described in detail as undisciplined, full of talk and excuses, procrastinating, party-going, frustrating to their friends, and eventually failing to succeed in life. It’s not a pretty picture. On the other hand, hard workers do succeed. But there is an even more important reason why we should take work seriously, and that’s because God has made us to work… for Him. He is the real boss we are serving, so our attitude to our work must ultimately reflect our relationship with Him. And one day we will stand before Him to give an account of what we have accomplished with our lives.
The whole question of money is one which makes many of us feel uncomfortable. Really… how much do we need to live comfortably? What is a reasonable lifestyle for a Christian today? What we can afford is not necessarily what God desires for us. The Bible doesn’t give us a simplistic formula for managing our finances. That’s our challenge! But it does give a lot of principles and good advice. Today we will mine some of the nuggets from the book of Proverbs which alert us to the dangers of wealth, and give us practical guidance about how to handle money wisely and generously. True wealth will never be found in an investment portfolio or a bank account, but in a relationship with Jesus Christ “who for our sakes became poor that we might become rich”.
History is littered with examples of the power of words. Famous speeches, heartfelt letters, words of comfort , biting criticism… The results of our words can last a lifetime, for better or for worse, and don’t we know it! In the book of Proverbs we find much wise advice about how we should and shouldn’t speak in many different contexts of life. This wisdom is startlingly practical and embarrassingly convicting. Luke 6:45 states: “Out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks”. Ultimately what we say betrays who we really are. To be able to control our tongues requires more than will-power. It needs “heart surgery”. And only the Holy Spirit can change us in this way so that our words consistently honour God and build up others.
As the modern world becomes more and more “connected” through social media, there is a paradoxical increase in loneliness. More and more people today are looking for friends, even virtual friendships through online sites. God made us to live in relationships and enjoy the company of friends. In the book of Proverbs there is some excellent practical advice about how we should relate to one another as friends, and in today’s message Pastor Murray explores some of this teaching. However, there is only one person who can be the perfect Friend. Jesus referred to Himself as “the friend of sinners” and He proved this by dying for us. In the words of the old hymn: “What a friend we have in Jesus”! Is He your friend? He’s inviting you today!