Little Is Much

Proverbs 13:23

“Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.”
“A poor man’s field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away.” NIV

We Complain 

Many times we complain about what we don’t have rather than thank God for what we do have. Have you ever complained about how small your house is, how old your car is, or how out of style your clothes are?  Sure you have. And you know, of course, that there are plenty of people out there who don’t even have a roof to sleep under, much less a new car or stylish clothes.

It might be a shock to you, but even pastors (ministers, preachers, bishops) have times when they complain about the “field” they are called to plow. I have done it. I even did it today, right before I read Proverbs 13:23.

We Whine

Today we had a death in our church. The loss of this key member has been a blow to all of our congregation. And being that our numbers are small, the loss of any member is painful, especially when growth has been extremely slow.

At one point I began to feel anxious. I asked God, “How can we grow a church if our younger adults start dying?” I thought to myself, “If we lose many more, we won’t be able to pay our utility bills, not to mention the little I get to feed my family.” For a moment I considered this field too small for even a minimal harvest.

No Excuses

Then I read this proverb. Then I read what the wise Matthew Henry had to say. Then I felt ashamed.

See…[how] a small estate may be improved by industry, so that a man, by making the best of every thing, may live comfortably upon it: Much food is in the tillage of the poor, the poor farmers, that have but a little, but take pains with that little and husband it well. Many make it an excuse for their idleness that they have but a little to work on, a very little to be doing with; but the less compass the field is of the more let the skill and labour of the owner be employed about it, and it will turn to a very good account. Let him dig, and he needs not beg.[1]

Sounds like I need to just get back out in the field and turn the soil, doesn’t it? A small field can be full of produce if worked well and wisely. It is those who complain that let a harvest waste away.

Like the old song says, “Little is much when God is in it...”

Dear Heavenly Father, strengthen our hands and energize our hearts for the work. The fields are truly white unto harvest, so who are we kidding? We just need to work a little harder to bring it in.

[1] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), Pr 13:23.


Leaving an Inheritance

Proverbs 13:22

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

A Good Man

My grandfather was a good man. He was also a wise man. He trained as an accountant and set up his own business in the City of London. When my grandfather began auditing a new motor business he became such a valued friend of the founder that he gave him shares in the business. This business eventually became one of the largest Ford dealerships in South London.

A Financial Inheritance

When my grandfather died in 1964 my grandmother was left in the position of never having any financial worries. By this time my father was a Baptist pastor serving a circuit of four churches in Guernsey, and supporting a wife and two children. Two more children were added to the family in 1965 and 1967 and it was certainly a challenge for my father to support his family. My grandmother helped out financially from time to time ensuring that the inheritance left to her by my grandfather benefited her son and helped him to continue in ministry. When my grandmother died in 1983 the money she left helped provide for my parents and paved the way for a secure retirement that continues to today. That financial inheritance has also been used to help provide for me and my family, and my sisters and their families.

A Different Inheritance

My grandfather left more than a financial inheritance. He was more than a good man. He was a man of God. He invested in the spiritual welfare of his children. My father became a Baptist pastor and my aunt trained for the mission field, but served instead in her local church in many roles including youth leader and church secretary. The spiritual investment made by my grandfather was passed to me and to my sisters, and in turn from me to my children. That is an investment I can rejoice in. I rejoice in seeing my eldest son serving as a youth pastor, while my second son is leading a house group in our church. My third son is becoming increasingly involved in a student church where he lives and recently spoke in a service. My daughter and youngest son are active members of the youth group at our church. If only my grandfather could see the results of his wisest investment.


Two Pursuers

Proverbs 13:21

21 Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.

Yesterday, Jason discussed how bad company will make us bad ourselves.

To go a step further, when we live a life of sin, whatever that may look like, we tend to gather like-minded people around us, reinforcing our sinful behaviors. Eventually, we have to deal with our sin.

If all we have around us is our sin and those who promote it, what should we expect? That everything will be alright? That we will never have problems?

This verse tells us that, in fact, the consequences of our sin track us down. The Apostle Peter told us in 1 Peter 5:8 that the Devil is actually seeking us out to destroy us!

Whatever vice or sin we have in our life is a beacon for Satan, calling him after us to pursue us and drag us deeper to our death. Things will only get worse the longer we live in our sin. Eventually, it leads to not only a literal death but eternal destruction.

The Other Pursuer

Those who live a life of righteousness, a life given to God, can expect a different outcome.

While a righteous person may interact with the more sinful, they are not tainted by that sin. Instead, they more closely associate with those who promote righteousness, or at the very least keep God central in their lives.

An interesting thing happens when we pursue God:

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
James 4:7-8

Do you see it?

Not only does God actively pursue those who pursue Him, but the Devil will actually run away!

We must remember, however, that he only runs away because he has been close. The more we walk with God, the more the Devil will want to break us apart.

The great news is that as we pursue God, we have God defending us.

Ultimately, we are repaid with eternal life.

Precious Savior, thank You for rescuing us from our sin and the grip of the Devil. Help us see You pursuing us. Give us the faith to pursue You. Give us the strength to resist the Devil when he comes after us, for by Your power he will flee!


Got Fleas?

Proverbs 13:20

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

Just about everyone has heard the old English proverb, “He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.” If not, let me explain. This proverb involves two things: a person and a dog. What is the action that is involved? They are very close to each other. So close, in fact (“lies down with”), that the fleas that are on the dog would move to the person.

So what does Proverbs 13:20 have to do with fleas? Answer: Association.

If the person was not associated with the dog, then there would be no possible way for that person to get fleas from the dog.

Solomon is explaining to us that we must be careful with whom we associate. He is telling us that we need to be very careful who we have as our friends and those we depend on.

This verse is simply saying that we need to make sure that we associate with wise men and not with foolish companions.

As I was preparing for this post, I came across this saying,

“Your friends are like the buttons on an elevator. They will either take you up or they will take you down” – Author Unknown

I am asking you today, based on Proverbs 13:20, are the people that you associate with bringing you closer to God or taking you further away from Him?

I love the way the New Living Translation says this verse, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.”

Psalms 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…”

So, do you have fleas? Are you associating with people that are getting you into trouble? If so, it’s time to “de-bug or de-fool” your life and seek out people of wisdom. Just as the verse says, “walk with the wise and become wise”!

Lord, help us to be careful who we associate with in our lives. We know that we are to be salt and light in this world, but help us to make sure we seek the counsel of wise men and women and not those who will lead us into trouble. Give us wisdom each day to seek out those who give wisdom based on your Word.

Folk Wisdom:

  • “Tell me your companions, and I will tell you what you are.”
  • “He that lives with cripples learns to limp” (Dutch Proverb)
  • “He that goes with wolves learns to howl” (Spanish Proverb)

Attaining Dreams

Proverbs 13:19

“The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.” (KJV).

If I Believe It, I Can Achieve It?

There was a popular song by R&B singer R Kelly from 1996 called “I believe I can fly.” It hit the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The song boasted, “If I can see it, then I can do it, if I just believe it, there’s nothing to it… I believe I can fly.” Really? If I can see something then I can do it? All I have to do is believe it and I can achieve it? I don’t think so!

Now don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I’m all for being positive, but just because you want something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I can have a desire to be the best basketball player in the history of the world – rival to that of Michael Jordan – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

Think about it for a minute: What kid hasn’t dreamed of being able to fly like Superman? As a child, I remember donning a red cape and leaping off of the diving board into the swimming pool, but the end result was always the same: I got wet. (Fortunately, unlike some foolish daredevils, I never tried this feat off of the top of a roof!).

Put Your Dream to the Test:

A couple of years ago I was preparing to write my first non-fiction book Supernatural: Contending for Signs and Wonders Today. When I sat down to accomplish my goal of writing and publishing my first book, I came across an excellent book by John Maxwell called Put Your Dream to the Test. John Maxwell says that the difference between a dreamer and someone who achieves a dream lies in answering ten powerful questions.

One of Maxwell’s questions included The Cost Question: “Am I willing to pay the price for my dream?” That question made me think of our Scripture in Proverb 13:19: “It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools will not turn from evil to attain them.” (NLT). When your desire is accomplished, it is sweet to the soul. But a fool isn’t willing to pay the price – turn from evil – to achieve his dreams.

To Accomplish Your Dreams:

The Bible says God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20). God wants us to dream big dreams! But, if we want to see those dreams come true, we must be willing to do what it takes to accomplish them.

When I wanted to finish writing and publishing my first book, I set a goal for myself to write a minimum of 15 minutes a day until I was finished. Quite often, those 15 minutes ended up being much longer, but I had a goal and I stuck with it, and saw my dream become a reality. If you’re willing to put God first in your life, you can see your dreams realized, too.


Honored on a Box

Proverbs 13:18

“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.”

Cracker Jack Boxes

Years ago I had a great sales manager, Dennis Vauvrunek.  He was great because he was a servant leader; because he was an encourager; and because he tried to bring out the best in his people.

Dennis knew that sales people are competitive by nature. So, in order to showcase the person with the highest numbers each week, he gave away an award – a box of Cracker Jacks.

Now, this was not just any box of Cracker Jacks, but one that had printed on the front the name of the winner and the dollar amount sold. It was amazing how much harder some of us would work when we though someone else might get the box. Sometimes getting that box was more important than a paycheck.

Honor and Reproof

The key to the success of the Cracker Jack box was the natural desire to be honored. The one who received it was considered the “best of the best”…a “go-getter,”…a winner.

But success in any field does not come by accident. Hours and hours of instruction, hands-on training, and learning from one’s mistakes were a prerequisite to being successful. The winners of Cracker Jack boxes were men and women who had been humble enough to accept reproof.

Poverty and Shame

Those who never accept instruction, much less reproof, are usually destined for poverty. Poverty and shame are the wages of pride.

When the industry I was in was active, I made really good money. But making a good living came as the result of dedicated, systematic, hard work. When I trained others to do what I did, I would show them exactly what was needed to be successful. All they had to do was follow my instructions. Those who didn’t went broke. Those who wouldn’t take advice never met their quotas. It didn’t take long before they were gone.

Your Name on a Box

Do you want to succeed in a particular area of life? Do you want to provide for yourself and your family? There is a price to pay. You must be humble.

1 Peter 5:5-6 – “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

What kind of box do you want?


Mixed Messages

Proverbs 13:17

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

Cons and Lies

Have you ever seen the movie “The Princess Bride“?

In the beginning of the movie, a man named Vizzini and his two hired-hands are hired to start war between the lands of Florin and Guilder by kidnapping the Princess Buttercup to kill her and blame Guilder.

There is one problem, the Dread Pirate Roberts finds them before they can finish the plan.

These men were attempting to do something quite wicked: start a war for profit. Instead, the Dread Pirate Roberts defeats Vizzini’s men (who become Roberts’s friends) and kills Vizzini in a game of wits.

These men tried to con two nations, and they ran into big trouble.

Disguises and Love

It turns out the Dread Pirate Roberts is actually Buttercup’s true love. He has essentially “come back from the dead” (twice, actually) to find her.

He helps defeat all of the bad guys and win back his true love with the message that truth and true love always win.

Together they help restore peace and happiness to the land.

The Devil, The Wicked, Jesus, and His Church

Back in the beginning, the Devil came along and started a war. Many people throughout history have fought (whether or not they were aware) on his side, spreading lies and hatred. Then one day God intervened. He came disguised as a Man with the message that truth and love always win, and He defeated His enemy by dying on a cross. He came back to life and will return one day to finish removing all evil.

In the mean time, He has tasked His people, the Church, with spreading the news of truth and love and His return.

He brings healing through His people.

He brings trust through His people.

He brings truth through His people.

We are His messengers in a world full of the Enemy’s messengers. The best way to be His Ambassadors of healing is to regularly study the Bible, seek Him out in prayer and by gathering with others, and actively taking the message of hope and healing to our lost and fallen world. We can encourage each other and lift each other up in prayer and by being there for each other.

Heavenly Father, thank You for setting us free from the Enemy. Strengthen us in our resolve to be Your ambassadors to this world. Increase our faith that we may faithfully spread truth, healing, and love to Your glory.


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