The twelfth chapter of proverbs speaks to the way that we work and the way that we speak. The thing that strikes me about both of these is that they both impact our lot in life and they are both within our power to control. In a general sense we really do reap what we sow.
"Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." (v1)
The heart of being a disciple is being disciplined and the heart of discipline is humility. Unfortunately our inner issues of pride and ego surface when we are corrected by others and even when we are disciplined by the Lord.
"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones." (v4)
The converse of this is true as well.. truth is (in my opinion) more husbands bring shame than wives. Our hearts should be to always consider our spouses in the way that we live.. our lives should be a source of life in their lives.
"The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand." (v7)
There is an eternal aspect to a faith built on a solid foundation. Here is the way that Jesus put it: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
"Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel." (v10)
The lesson here is not the care of animals but the importance of compassion. Jesus told the religious folks of His day that God desires compassion and not religious activities. Of course I do think that how we care for animals says something about us.
"Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense." (v11)
Whether is is in a cubicle, a factory or on a farm hard work is honorable. I once told my son that the thing that makes money worth anything is work and not gold.. the work standard, not the gold standard, makes an economy prosperous.
"An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble. From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man's hand comes back to him." (v13-14)
I once heard a message titled "If you speak it you eat it". The law of sowing and reaping is applicable to our speech as well as our work. We harvest what we plant.
"Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment." (v17)
This verse wraps up several ones that compare speech in terms of: foolish or wise; insulting; honest testimony vs false witness; rash or healing words; and truth or lies. What we say is so important.. we have the power to bless or to curse.. to encourage or put down. People so need our speech to be full of wise and healing words.
"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." (v25)
Encouragement is an enduring kingdom principle.. I sometimes think that we are most like God when we are blessing others with our words. I like this anonymous quote: “A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success”.
If you liked this post then please click here to catch some of my other ponderings on the book of Proverbs.