Readings: Proverbs 16:1-9; I Corinthians 10:1-13
Anyone who has ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant knows that, at the end of the meal when the bill arrives, it will be accompanied by a fortune cookie for each person at the table. There are all kinds of suggestions on who gets which cookie. The basic custom of which I'm aware involves never picking one's own cookie, but allowing someone else to do it for you. This works fine, of course, unless you're dining solo--then I guess you could count it being picked out for you from the beginning when it arrives at your table.
It's always fun to go around the table and have each fortune read by its new owner. Some seem to fit nicely into our lifestyles and we consider it custom made for us; others just kind of leave us shaking our heads and wondering.
As Christians, we more or less have our own type of fortune cookie in the Bible--although probably "wisdom cookies" would be a more appropriate name. Wisdom cookies sprinkled liberally with those precious seeds of God's wisdom.
We have the Book of Proverbs.
When we look at these words of wisdom and practice them in our lives, our good fortune may indeed increase--although on a level much deeper than we normally think. We are, after all, following the rule of God in our lives when living out the proverbs.
From the readings above today, three particular proverbs stood out to me. The first is from verse 2: "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord". How many times have we "meant well" or plowed head-first into an issue without first taking it to Christ? Most time is just doesn't work out well, even when we mean well and all seems innocent. We forget that our interpretation of an innocent act and Christ's interpretation of an innocent act can be two different things.
Verse 3 is another truth to practice each day: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." When we make plans, once again, we tend to plow right ahead without first taking it to Christ. If we commit to Christ our "blueprints" of plans, we are much more likely to succeed. The plans will be more carefully thought out; something to take to Christ would need to be of pure thinking and motive. Once we pass that hurdle and make our plans pleasing to God, if it be His will for our journey, that plan will succeed beyond our wildest imaginations.
Verse 9: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." By nature, we humans are planners...we plan every moment of every day if given the chance. However, once again we tend to forget the necessary step of inviting Christ into the plans. We may know where we want to head in life, but if we exclude God from these plans, our steps will falter again and again.
In I Corinthians, Paul shares with us more seeds of wisdom through Christ--these seeds of wisdom are also showers of blessings to ease us when times get tough. "So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it" (verses 12-13). If we awake each morning remembering these words, we will be more than able to take on each day and live it to the fullest in ways that are pleasing to God.
Seeds of wisdom...be sure to scatter freely and nurture...the world could use a healthy crop!
Peace be with you.