Monday, March 16, 2015

Want to be a Good, Wise Worker?

Want to be a Good, Wise Worker?
Learn  from  God’s  Six-Legged  Teachers -  from Prov. 6:6-11

            We all have stories of “that teacher”; eccentric, odd, one-of-a-kind. But a six-legged instructor, with antenna, that raids picnics? God can use anything to teach us. In Job it is the sky, earth, animals… In Proverbs 6 it is an ant. Can you think of some odd things or teachers that helped you learn a thing or two? No names!

            In Proverbs 6 we overhear a parent, King Solomon, challenging a “less than motivated child” - lazy - to learn from something right under his feet; the lowly ant. These ant-inspired lessons in hard and smart work help us fulfill our God-given responsibilities: at school, home, on the job, sports… Read and compare these versions & then use them to answer the questions to help you become a wiser worker like the ant.

Proverbs 6:6-11    (NLT)
6 Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones.
    Learn from their ways and become wise!
7 Though they have no prince
    or governor or ruler to make them work,
8 they labor hard all summer,
    gathering food for the winter.
9 But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep?
    When will you wake up?
10 A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
11then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
    scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. 

Proverbs 6:6-11  (ESV)
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man. 

What is the “lazybones, sluggard” son told to do first  (vs. 6)? Why is that import-ant?  J
            See also Prov. 1:1-7; 4:1-9;  Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:10; Prov. 30:24, 25

What lessons in motivation does the ant teach us  (vs. 7, 8)?    
            See also Eph. 6:5-9; Col. 3:17-4:1; 1 Thess. 4:11, 12. ~ Google T.R.’s “in the arena”

How is the ant working in summer is a good example  (vs. 8)?
Sounds  like:  Maturity = Delayed Gratification  (1 Cor. 15:58;  Prov. 12:27; 21:5)
            See also Gal. 6:7-10; 2 Cor. 6:9-11

What can we learn from ant’s gathering in harvest?  (vs. 8  &  Eccles. 11:4, 6)
            “Four things are small…exceedingly wise: The ants are not a strong people,
            But they prepare their food in the summer…” Prov. 30:24, 25

What serious warnings is this lazy son - and us  - given? (vs. 9-11)
                “Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.”  (Prov. 20:4)
            See also Prov. 10:4; 13:4; 12:27; 21:5;  2 Thess. 3:10

v  “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…  (Eccles. 9:10)
v  “…work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” (Col. 3:23, 24; 1 Cor. 10:31)
v  “Earn all you can, give all you can, save all you can.”  Rev. John Wesley   

Extra  Notes:  

The Context of this Parental Teaching Session:
6:1-5 “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter…” 
6  “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.”
12-15 “A worthless person… calamity will come upon him suddenly…”
16-19  “There are six things that the Lord hates… seven…”
20-35 “He who commits adultery lacks sense… destroys himself.” (vs. 32)

Reminder:  Proverbs are general statements of truth .  Not ALL:
Full barns are due to diligence (Ps. 37, 73; Prov. 1:19; 13:11)
Poverty is due to laziness  (Prov. 16:8; Jer. 22:13; James 5:4)  

Mercy towards the poor is godly  (Prov. 19:17; 28:27; 1 Jn 3 & 4;  Mt 25)

King Solomon also wrote this great advice:  “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap… Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.” (Eccles. 11:4, 6)

Living  out  “Ant  Hill  Wisdom”:

q  Repent of laziness, undisciplined living!   (Eph. 4:28; 2 Thess. 3:10)
q  Would you hire you? Are you contributing or stealing through sloth!
q  Are those watching you seeing an example worth copying? (1 Thess. 4:11, 12)
q  What does it take to “light a fire” under you?  God’s glory? (1 Cor. 10:31) 

6 Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
8 Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
9 How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10 “A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—
11 Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.   (Prov. 6:6-11 - NASB)  

A Lesson from the Ant   – The Message  - Prov. 6
6-11 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
    Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
    All summer it stores up food;
    at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
    How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
    sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
    poverty your permanent houseguest! 

Critics. Their Sad, Toxic Hobby

Critics. Their Sad, Toxic Hobby
Kerry Doyal

Critics with checklists on clipboards
Clicking off criticism
Checking off complaints
Cliques of critics
Coffee clutches clucking, critiquing, condemning.

Content to be discontent.
No,  vindicated by others failings,  deficiencies.

Silent “ah ha's!” Proof!
Cumulative complaints
Unforgettable failings. Again.
Cataloged obvious communal concerns

Unspoken directly
Finding fault,  faults.
Storing them away as treasures,  tools, trophies.

Biding time to unfurl the banner or truth.
Gotcha! See.

Not bothering to clarify
More damning evidence.
More notes taken.

Isolation... all around

Community hindered
Unity splintered
Purpose thwarted
Mission mangled
Servants crippled

God dishonored

 Kerry Doyal
(both guilty and victim)
Jan 2015

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Growing from a “To Do” List? Pray!

Gleaning & Growing from a  “To Do”  List?
“First of all, Pray for… so that…”  (from 1 Timothy 2)

            What could we possibly gain spiritually from someone else’s “to do” list?  Depending on the list, plenty! Paul begins his first letter to Timothy reminding him why he left him in Ephesus. He was to bring deeper health & stability to the church in Ephesus. Along with establishing elders & deacons (3:1ff) and taking care of widows (5:9ff), Timothy would need to courageously face down some erring, side-tracked teachers. There is much we can grow from by studying the “to do” list Paul gives Timothy. We can even deeply benefit from the first “to do”.

            “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”  (1 Timothy 2:1-7 -  ESV)

            “First of all, then…”? This assumes background, context:  “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love…  This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.”  (1 Tim. 1:3-5, 18, 19 - ESV)

“First” on the “To Do” list:  “Make Prayer”!

Make Prayers:  “produce, construct”

Ø  In all kind of ways
o   Supplications: requests based on needs
o   Prayers: regular, formal, communal, worshipful, humble praise
o   Intercessions:  for others.  “a conference or conversation; a petition”
o   Thanksgivings:  (Gk.: εὐχαριστίας – eucharist-)

Ø  For all kinds of people – all mankind

Ø  For all kinds of leaders: “kings… all in high positions” – rulers, authorities, superiors

Ø  For God-honoring lives: stable, settled, fully devout & respectful
o    “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life,
o    godly and dignified in every way.”

Such a Life of Making Prayer:
            Is good / beautiful & acceptable to God

            Is part of His gospel work 

            Recognizes and utilizes Christ’s mediator role

            Helps in the ministry of others

Life Application from Timothy’s “to do” list…  You tell me!      (a hint: “Let us pray!)  

Three More Versions for further Meditation & Study:

1 Timothy 2 (MSG)  2:1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.

8-10 Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.    The Message

1 Timothy 2 (NLT)   2 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For,

There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. 7 And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth.

8 In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.

9 And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. 10 For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
New Living Translation

1 Timothy 2 (NASB)   2 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.   New American Standard Bible