Discerning Enough

Today's devotion from Proverbs 23.

The clear theme that emerges from this chapter is that of the dangers of materialism, self-promotion, and ambition. Eating a meal with a ruler implies the idea of gaining social clout. Toiling for wealth, ambition for material goods, and moving landmarks all obviously refer to the desire for more, bigger, and better that take over ethics and eventually consume in totality.

As the chapter advances, we see also worry about tomorrow and other concerns that lead to the ultimate temptation to drown the struggle of keeping up with the Joneses with alcohol. The life given to the pursuit of power, prestige, and materialism is one that will destroy you.

As I consider these verses, it is odd. On one hand, I think I lived through some of the most prevalent times form workaholism although there have been multiple eras that blur and distort du to corporate America and personal excess.

We cannot, however, swing the pendulum too far. After all, as one generation defined itself with work, another has given itself to the pursuit of recreation. Still another is bent on a course that will lead to the crashing realization that self-fulfillment isn't all that fulfilling.

Regardless of the expression, the issue still boils down to perspective. There is a question that should be asked, and frequently: what is worthy of my life? If I know that I only have so many years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds, where am I spending them? What pursuit is worthy of this day if it is the only one like it I will have?

The author writes, 'Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist." (Proverbs 23:4, ESV) There has to come a point in our lives when we look around, take inventory, and realize that we cannot afford to keep wasting our precious few days on pursuits that are hollow.

There is a level of discernment involved. The author isn't saying we should just pursue pleasure either. He has spoken of the necessity of providing for one's family and being accountable to care for those we love. However, we have to have the time and energy left at the end of the day to actually enjoy those that we love. Discernment.

Maybe today is a good day to take stock in what is really worthy of this day? The best place to start is with your relationship with God.