Thursday, August 5, 2021

7 Things in the Everything Else category

 Read Proverbs 6

There is God’s way and there is everything else.  Let’s spend a little time putting a few things into the everything else category. 

There are 6 things that the Lord can’t stand, 7 if you really think about it.

#1. Haughty eyes.  Are these like Betty Davis eyes?  It’s not really the eyes but the attitude. It’s someone with excess pride and arrogance, even hubris. It’s contempt for a person that one might perceive as being of lesser in stature.

It’s the opposite of the attitude that cares for the least of these my brothers and sisters. We are people known by our love, not our contempt.

#2. Lying tongue.  Don’t you wish that a liar’s pants really did catch on fire? You can cancel cable and satellite television as the day’s entertainment will be doing stop, drop, and roll somewhere in your neighborhood.

It’s tough to speak the truth in a spirit of love.  It’s part of our Christian maturity to be able to do that, but it’s just wrong to lie.

#3. Shedding innocent blood.  This one requires little explanation.  It’s not shedding of blood in combat.  Combatants expect that they have some skin in the game.  It’s not shedding blood defending yourself or your family.  Turn the other cheek is misapplied here.

It’s shedding blood without legitimate reason; thus, it’s shedding blood for no good reason.  Life is precious and the taking of life is seldom justified.

#4. Devising wicked schemes.  Think to the Apostle Paul’s words.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Our thoughts should be preoccupied with good things.  An idle mind can drift to devious things.  Devising wicked schemes stems from laziness—not using our minds for good. Solomon has already given counsel to the lazy—the sluggard.

#5. Rushing into evil.  I respect people who move towards the sound of gunfire.  I admire people who will rush into a burning building to save someone.  These are generally considered honorable things, but rushing into evil is another matter.

Rushing into evil is not to consider whether our course is good or evil, or worse, not to care. It’s depraved indifference.

What do we do?  Think on good things.  Pray. Meditate upon God’s word.  Use the sound mind that God gave us. And, if we consider the first part of this chapter, make it your priority to get out of a bad situation if you find yourself there.

If you rushed into something evil, then your priority is to find a way out

#6. False witness.  We have come back to lying, in this case, profuse lying and about someone.  We live in the age of fake news. False witness is a daily occurrence.  When occasionally, the paper prints a retraction, it’s on page 5.  When the television media corrects itself, it’s accompanied by twenty minutes of why it was ok to tell the lie.

God loves truth and hates lies.  God’s people need to keep this a simple dichotomy.  Truth good.  Lies bad.  Choose truth.

#7. Finally, number 7 on our list of 6 that grew to 7 is one who stirs up dissent.  It’s fun to stir the pot in a light-hearted discussion.  It’s another thing to stir up dissent for the sake of dissent.  Gossip thrives in people who love to stir up dissent.

If I can make someone else look bad—whether my words or true or not—then I might feel better about myself, at least momentarily.  Gossip is an addictive drug and it wears off in no time, so you have to stir up something else to feed your addiction.

I’m not talking banter such as might precede the Red River Rivalry or Bedlam.  I don’t care if the Hook ‘Em Horns sign is right-side up or upside down.  When I was young, people on both sides of the river only used one finger to signal each other before the big game.

I’m talking about—Solomon is talking about—people who stir up dissent for dissent’s sake.  These people covet your peace but won’t receive God so they can enjoy peace as well. They think because their life is a mess, they will just feel better if they can make everyone else feel like their lives are a mess as well.

Hubris, lies, murder, wicked scheming, embracing evil, lies against another, and stirring up dissent all go into the everything else category.

Do we want to be a disciple of God whom we know in Christ Jesus or an adherent of corruption?  It’s a simple dichotomy.  Solomon just put a few specifics to the everything else.


To the ant, work is wisdom

 Read Proverbs 6

Don’t’ make promises that you can’t keep, but if you do, beg for forgiveness and to be released from your promise.

Don’t do stupid stuff, but if you do, find a way to honorably end the mess you have gotten into.  Ask for mercy.

If you have gotten yourself into a mess, then getting yourself out of that mess has become one of your top priorities.

Don’t get yourself into a mess because you are lazy.  Look at the example of the ant.  It doesn’t have to be ordered around, yet it works in season to provision itself.

For the ant, work is wisdom.  For the sluggard, such wisdom is elusive.  Break the cycle or else suffer the consequences.

What consequences?  Poverty.  Poverty is the fruit of laziness. The one labeled sluggard is the personification of poverty.

It is hard for me to talk about poverty without again returning to purpose.  Purpose and poverty are diametrically opposed.  Let’s consider them in the context of time. (Adapted from PoMo Poverty)

So many people can’t pay their bills, can’t find a job, and have more time on their hands than they know what to do with.  There should be an oxymoron or two somewhere in that statement.

I have seen a wide range of reactions—from tears to anger so pronounced that veins were about ready to pop out of the person’s neck--when I ask someone who is out of work these questions.

How many hours a week do you want to work?

The most popular answer is, “I dunno.”

So I respond, “How about 40?  That’s something of a traditional work week.”

Usually, the reply is, “Yeah, OK, that sounds good.  Unless I can get some overtime.”

So I respond, “How much overtime?”

The answer is predictable, “I dunno.”

So I continue with the three questions for one answer game.  “How about 20 hours overtime?”

“Yeah, OK, that sounds good.  Unless I can get more.”

“How much more.”

Don’t laugh.  “I dunno.”

“Let’s just say another 10 hours.  That makes a total of 40 hours regular time and 30 hours overtime.  That’s 70 hours a week.  Can you handle that?”


The affirmative answer should not convey any degree of confidence or commitment.  Usually by this point, people are just getting upset that I haven’t thrown in the towel and opened the vault of money piled high for people who are out of work and have become exhausted by trying to figure out how much they might be willing to work in a week. 

It is at this point where people really don’t like me.  I say, “You need to spend 70 hours a week looking for a job.  Not sitting at home wishing someone would call you with a top-level executive job, getting off your butt, hitting the pavement, and finding a job.”

The most common response: “Well, I don’t have time.”

The dichotomy of not having the time to find a job for which one hopes to work at enough be paid overtime seldom registers with the unemployed sluggard.

When I say that finding a job is your job until you are hired, you might think that I had said terrible things about the family lineage.

This is poverty.

People have plenty of time to dwell in self-pity.

People have no time to help themselves.


Working as a counselor with inmates, most of whom had several years remaining on their sentences, I learned a term for what so many who live in the poverty of time do.  It’s called running your story.

The inmate with years to do and no place to go will gladly tell you his whole story from the beginning at every chance—except when it’s time for chow or recreation.  He does not value time, especially yours.

It seems that the sluggard also does not value his time or yours.  He has plenty of time to spend with someone who is doing purposeful things, but none to spend looking for a job.  He has acquired the art of running his story and values neither his own time nor the time of others.


Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:12


Each of us is granted 86,400 seconds in a day.

People of purpose cherish each second.

People of poverty just wait for them to pass.


People of purpose realize what they give when they give another person time.

People of poverty neither recognize what time they have nor what time another is giving.


The paradox is that people who value time, give it readily for the right reasons.

People, who habitually waste time, seldom engage in productive endeavors.  They just don’t have the time.


We may have all encountered different obstacles, painful experiences, or had the break of a lifetime.  We don’t all start from the same point.  Some are ahead or behind others in wealth, education, status, and other measurable areas.

But we all are granted the same amount of time each day.

Purposeful people invest their time.

It is a poverty mindset to waste it.


Want to see the intersection of time and money in the modern world of poverty?

Go to the convenience store.

Fountain drinks.

Fast food.


Energy drinks.


And two or three bags of chips.


That leaves $5 in change.  Better get another pack of cigarettes.

Just as well spend it here.  The water bill was $52.  Didn’t have enough to pay it anyway.


I like convenience stores.  They are convenient.  There is no grocery store in the town where I live, so convenience stores save me the $10 in gas and most of an hour in time to get the one or two items that ran out before my next scheduled trip to the grocery store.

People become addicted to the immediate gratification of the convenience store.  Many don’t even know how to make a shopping list.  They just go to the convenience store, and then decide what they need.

Convenience stores are all located at the same place in the land of the sluggard.  They are at the corner of time and money and are irresistible to those who do not know how to value either.

Time is money.

Benjamin Franklin

This part of the chapter is simple.  If you get yourself into a mess, your first priority is getting out of it.

If you are lazy—the word Solomon chose was sluggard—then you are on a course to a life of poverty.  Follow the basic example of the ant.  Work and provide for yourself.  Work and save up for later.  Work and give no purchase to laziness.

If you are lazy, begin your journey with this simple mantra—work is wisdom.

Work does not become your God.  It is not something to which you should become addicted.  It is your lifeline out of laziness and your vaccine against poverty.

Work is how you liberate yourself from laziness. For the one susceptible to laziness, consider the example of the ant.  Work is wisdom.