It was a dark and stormy night, following a chilly and blustery day. My feet were slowly numbing as I sat down to write, and then got too excited about the text to find a blanket.
I forget how fascinating it is to read a verse in multiple translations. See Proverbs 12:14 below:
“From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.” ESV
“A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his [h]words,
And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.” NASB
“From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.” NIV
“Well-spoken words bring satisfaction;
well-done work has its own reward.” The Message
The different perspectives of the translators brings out different facets or nuances of what the author wrote into the text.
You reap what you sow. It is a pattern emphasized throughout the Bible. Jacob (named “supplanter”) tricked his dad into giving him Esau’s blessing, and then Jacob was deceived by his uncle Laban into marrying both Leah and Rachel. Jacob was later tricked by ten of his twelve sons into believing that his favorite son, Joseph, had died. You reap what you sow.
Ruth, on the other hand, stubbornly refused to leave her mother-in-law Naomi as she journeyed back to the land of Israel. Although Ruth was a foreigner, she was blessed with a marriage to a generous man respected throughout the community, and she became a part of the line of kings in Judah. You reap what you sow.
The Pharisees near the turn of the century had many ideas about rules, and what you could eat, or wear, or do and still be “clean” before God. Jesus said in Matthew 15:11, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” God cares about where your heart is at, and your actions will naturally follow from that point. If your heart is seeking to honor Him, He is more pleased than if you live your life focused on never breaking a “rule.”
Life is like a harvest. Sometimes it takes years for you to see the result of a decision you make. Sometimes it only takes minutes. Either way, our choices change our lives, and ripple into the lives of the people around us. What are you planting right now? If you knew that whatever you did today would be the template for the rest of your life, what decisions would you make and why?
I was challenged today to look at my life differently…to look for people to challenge me and raise my “ceiling” of how much I can achieve. There are many ways that I have let myself go slack. You have potential to do great things…even if they look very simple. Jesus has invited us on an exciting journey…He knows how many steps we can take. Don’t be satisfied with a view halfway up the mountain. Don’t be satisfied with “following the rules,” plant big seeds!
God, I spoke many words today and got many things done. And sitting here, listening to the rain pelt outside, I am feeling very blessed. But a little restless. God, how is my life impacting those around me? Are my decisions inspiring them to good or to sorrow? God, please show me where You would have me change. Amen.