Tag Archives: attitude

A Question of Attitude

Proverbs 21:4 

An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart– the unplowed field of the wicked – produce sin. (NIV)

ploughed fieldIs an unplowed field equivalent to an untidy bedroom? If it is my kids are in trouble! After parenting five with two still at home I cannot recall any of them keeping tidy bedrooms ever, although it seems to be a different story when they have their own homes. While a tidy bedroom is not high on the list of priorities for your average teenager, you would expect that the owner of a field would keep it plowed to ensure the best environment for his crops.

But this proverb is not really about plowed fields and it certainly isn’t about untidy bedrooms, so what is the link? The link is attitude. This is something that each of us needs to consider regularly. How is our attitude? How and why do we do certain things, and why are there things we try to avoid doing at all costs? How are we doing with the pride issue? Are we too proud? Or does humility come easy?

The more I read this proverb the more I realize that it is about hearts not actions. It is sinful to do something with the wrong attitude, or to fail to do something we consider beneath us. Need an example? Here’s one. I am the Sunday Ministry deacon at church. I organise rosters for duty deacons and stewards, and anything the pastor wants arranged on any particular Sunday. The first task is always to make sure the forecourt is tidy, which as our city center church is surrounded by nightclubs and pubs is not always the case. But one Sunday morning the problem wasn’t leftover fast food and empty beer cans, it was confetti. There had been a wedding the day before and it had rained. The wet confetti stuck to the paving slabs as if it was glued. The guy who leads our men’s ministry gave me a hand to clean the confetti and other items from the forecourt. All but one person going into church walked past us, most of them with a witty comment. Only one person saw what we were doing and without saying anything went to the cleaning cupboard to fetch a broom so that she could help us. I don’t want to point the finger at the funny guys who walked past, but perhaps this proverb was written for them?

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Afflicted or Merry?

Proverbs 15:15 

“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”

“Figures”

Have you ever known someone who feels like nothing ever goes his way? I have a friend who says, “Figures” when something doesn’t go the way he wants or plans. In other words, he feels he should have expected things to go wrong. How defeated is that?

Those who feel like the world is against them, that fate hates them, and that every wish upon a star is doomed to utter failure are not happy people. There are no silver linings, only clouds, and all the glasses are half-empty due to some conspiracy hatched in a neighbor’s mind.

“Praise the Lord, Anyway”

Then there are those people who take what’s handed to them with grace and a smile. They are the ones who end up truly brutalized and mistreated, but find hope in the middle of hurt. Disappointment turns into new opportunities, while loss is left to the wisdom of God.

Those with a merry heart can face a downturn in events, and even though it may hurt, say, “Praise the Lord, anyway!” It doesn’t mean they like having things go wrong, it’s just that they know the Lord gives and takes away, “blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Cart before the Horse

You know the old saying about putting the cart before the horse? Take a look at today’s proverb one more time and see if you can find an out-of-place cart? Shouldn’t being merry follow having the stuff of a feast? Shouldn’t feeling afflicted come after the onset of an evil day?

The real key to this proverb is the way a person approaches life. A person with a “merry heart” can “feast” on a bowl of beans while thanking God he at least has food. An “afflicted” person would complain that his free four-course meal lacked a piece of cake.

Prayer: Father, help me to maintain a merry and thankful heart, even when things aren’t going the way I think they should. You are sovereign and in control of all things. When “bad” things happen because of my mistakes, help me to accept the consequences. When bad things come as the result of no fault of my own, give me grace to endure and the comfort of knowing all things will work together for good.


A Question of Attitude

Proverbs 21:4 

An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart– the unplowed field of the wicked – produce sin. (NIV)

ploughed fieldIs an unplowed field equivalent to an untidy bedroom? If it is my kids are in trouble! After parenting five with two still at home I cannot recall any of them keeping tidy bedrooms ever, although it seems to be a different story when they have their own homes. While a tidy bedroom is not high on the list of priorities for your average teenager, you would expect that the owner of a field would keep it plowed to ensure the best environment for his crops.

But this proverb is not really about plowed fields and it certainly isn’t about untidy bedrooms, so what is the link? The link is attitude. This is something that each of us needs to consider regularly. How is our attitude? How and why do we do certain things, and why are there things we try to avoid doing at all costs? How are we doing with the pride issue? Are we too proud? Or does humility come easy?

The more I read this proverb the more I realize that it is about hearts not actions. It is sinful to do something with the wrong attitude, or to fail to do something we consider beneath us. Need an example? Here’s one. I am the Sunday Ministry deacon at church. I organise rosters for duty deacons and stewards, and anything the pastor wants arranged on any particular Sunday. The first task is always to make sure the forecourt is tidy, which as our city center church is surrounded by nightclubs and pubs is not always the case. But one Sunday morning the problem wasn’t leftover fast food and empty beer cans, it was confetti. There had been a wedding the day before and it had rained. The wet confetti stuck to the paving slabs as if it was glued. The guy who leads our men’s ministry gave me a hand to clean the confetti and other items from the forecourt. All but one person going into church walked past us, most of them with a witty comment. Only one person saw what we were doing and without saying anything went to the cleaning cupboard to fetch a broom so that she could help us. I don’t want to point the finger at the funny guys who walked past, but perhaps this proverb was written for them?


Afflicted or Merry?

Proverbs 15:15 

“All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”

“Figures”

Have you ever known someone who feels like nothing ever goes his way? I have a friend who says, “Figures” when something doesn’t go the way he wants or plans. In other words, he feels he should have expected things to go wrong. How defeated is that?

Those who feel like the world is against them, that fate hates them, and that every wish upon a star is doomed to utter failure are not happy people. There are no silver linings, only clouds, and all the glasses are half-empty due to some conspiracy hatched in a neighbor’s mind.

“Praise the Lord, Anyway”

Then there are those people who take what’s handed to them with grace and a smile. They are the ones who end up truly brutalized and mistreated, but find hope in the middle of hurt. Disappointment turns into new opportunities, while loss is left to the wisdom of God.

Those with a merry heart can face a downturn in events, and even though it may hurt, say, “Praise the Lord, anyway!” It doesn’t mean they like having things go wrong, it’s just that they know the Lord gives and takes away, “blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Cart before the Horse

You know the old saying about putting the cart before the horse? Take a look at today’s proverb one more time and see if you can find an out-of-place cart? Shouldn’t being merry follow having the stuff of a feast? Shouldn’t feeling afflicted come after the onset of an evil day?

The real key to this proverb is the way a person approaches life. A person with a “merry heart” can “feast” on a bowl of beans while thanking God he at least has food. An “afflicted” person would complain that his free four-course meal lacked a piece of cake.

Prayer: Father, help me to maintain a merry and thankful heart, even when things aren’t going the way I think they should. You are sovereign and in control of all things. When “bad” things happen because of my mistakes, help me to accept the consequences. When bad things come as the result of no fault of my own, give me grace to endure and the comfort of knowing all things will work together for good.