As many of us begin our holiday travels (Halleluia!), let’s mull over some ‘travel’ words from Proverbs 4:10-19 summarised by:
‘The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way (or path) of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble’.
We often find time to think about big choices and decisions on holiday. Life just doesn’t seem to stop for the rest of the year. A few weeks ago, when I preached from Exodus 18, we noticed how Moses made tough choices and decisions that influenced the direction of a whole nation (Hebrews 11:24-26)!
The book of Proverbs is about learning to live skilfully – see chapter 1:1-7. In fact the first chapter uses the Hebrew word Hak-mah (wisdom), purposefully to summarise the concept of Skilful living likened to choosing a right(eous) path. Every action, Proverbs teaches us, takes us somewhere. That choice of action takes us somewhere and shapes our heart, and ultimately our future. A familiar, insightful saying tells us ‘sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny’.
By this biblical road map Jesus taught that our actions, for example ‘love your enemies’ (Matthew 5:43-48) – even if it involves painful sacrifice – will determine our heart condition and ultimately our destiny. Loving enemies has nothing to do with feelings and everything to do with choosing actions. Seeking our opponent’s good, making a sacrifice, laying down our lives, taking a godly action journey that will in the end (and maybe not until heaven!) determine our heart condition and destiny.
My friend Jose in South Sudan wants to gather all the young men and women in his area for a youth conference in August. I am sure he would be delighted if Sue and I paid all the expenses. But that would rob them of the huge blessing they would get at the conference through them making the sacrifice to make it happen! That’s not us being tight fisted – we just don’t want them to miss out. Sacrificial decisions and actions always lead to God’s provision being poured out. Take the cross for a prime example! May God bless you and refresh you on holiday and give us grace to choose the right paths for our families and communities.