Daily Proverbial, 30 August 2011

If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit. Proverbs 25, verse 16.

Happy Tuesday and isn’t this just a wonderful thought to start the day with? Eat too much sweet food and you’ll puke! Who wants some more Captain Crunch? Honey with your tea? How about a little stomach bile? My son and I are the only ones in my house who like honey. Bee spit doesn’t quite become anyone else. Even I will admit that, after reading this verse, I’m not down for honey any time soon.

Believe it or not (said Mr. Ripley) but this verse makes sense following God’s advice yesterday to learn patience and gentleness. What patient man gorges himself on purpose? What gentle woman purposefully eats sweets until she throws up? What patient and gentle person willingly starves themselves or goes to the other excess? See, it makes sense.

What’s more is that I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to look at the verse and look through it like a photo negative. I think it’s also a caution against starvation. Don’t eat enough and you’ll make yourself sick. Eat too little and you won’t be taking in enough. That’s the key point: just enough.

Could the verse be construed to mean avoid gluttony altogether? I think so. Take out “honey” and put in any food or drink and it still works. In fact, subtract food altogether and substitute any activity that can be gluttonous and the verse still works. Maybe that’s the biggest point about the whole thing: everything in moderation. If we go overboard on anything, we make ourselves sick. In the very least, we compromise ourselves.

How do we know when we’ve had just enough? Let your conscience tell you. I have long believed that one way God talks to us is through our conscience. When it is silent, He is letting us bear the consequences of our actions so that we may learn to rely on Him. When it speaks, He may very well be speaking to us, trying to keep us on the straight and narrow. I find that, usually, when my conscience tells me I’ve had enough, that I’m full, that I’m near my limits or near the lines, that I’m satisfied and content. If I keep pushing it, I will make myself sick. That’s something I’d like to avoid. I don’t know of anyone who likes to get sick; I know I don’t.

So here’s to hoping you go into your Tuesday on a happy note. No need to avoid the sweets as long as you don’t gorge yourself. Come to think of it, I will have the cup of tea after all.

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