July 27 - Three Good Rules for Life


By Mary Smith

Today's Scripture: Proverbs 20:4-6

Central Thought: Laziness, shallowness, and unfaithfulness are three things we all should avoid.

    'Avoid clichés like the plague!” warns a line from a book about writing. It chose a clever way to issue the warning: it used a cliché to do it!

    The things today's Scripture speaks of are, in a sense, clichés. One dictionary defines 'cliché” as 'something that has become commonplace.” The kinds of human failings these verses warn about are all too common in the human family.

    Laziness (verse 4). It is not uncommon for managers of businesses to complain about how hard it is to find good workers nowadays. 'People just don't want to work,” one employer said. 'It's so hard to find good help,” another complained. Perhaps today's employees have become accustomed to an easy lifestyle, making it hard for them to 'put the nose to the grindstone” and work. If so, every employee needs to think about what this verse says. The lazy person will one day reap the effect of sloth.

    Shallowness (verse 5). This verse encourages depth of mind and heart. Today's English Version puts it this way: 'A person's thoughts are like water in a deep well.” It takes someone with wise insight to draw from that well. Anyone content to remain in the shallow waters of intellect need not apply for this job.

    Unfaithfulness (verse 6). This verse makes it clear that fidelity is more than just words. Anyone can proclaim faithfulness to friend, spouse, family, or church. But the verse suggests that few people actually live this proclamation.

    Commit yourself to becoming the opposite of each of these terms. In work, show diligence. In thinking, show depth. In relationships, show fidelity. Your life will be better because of it. So will the lives of those around you.

Devotional Prayer: Forgive me for my failures in these areas. Help me to avoid being lazy, to move beyond shallow thinking, and to be faithful in my relationships.

Today's Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 19:1-20:37; Romans 10:14-11:12; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 20:4-6