Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Word From Proverbs

I was doing my daily reading this morning, and I ran across a verse I don't think I have ever seen before. As I pondered this verse, I wondered what it actually means.

A man's stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.

Proverbs 18:20

To me it has two meanings; one is practical and has to do with one's business, and the other is spiritual and relates to one's ministry. On the practical side (and this is what I related to first), I think it refers to one's ability to communicate ideas and concepts, and convincing someone to do business with us. Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. " In order to be able to proficiently communicate to my clients, I need to be constantly sowing understanding and knowledge into myself, believing in my heart that I am giving good advice, and incorporating that belief in my presentation. Because I believe I need to give the best advice (after all, I am dealing with people's investment portfolios), I am constantly reading and studying the markets, investment concepts and tax laws. The "fruit of my mouth", and the "produce of my lips" (my words) are what I have first planted in my heart and mind. The consequence of my sowing (you can't have fruit without first planting the seed) is a well-prepared and planned presentation of an idea or concept to help my client meet his or her objective. It is the sum of my experience, understanding, and preparation. The end result is gaining someone's confidence in the presentation of my idea to implement the plan, and become a client. Hence, I get paid, I can buy groceries, and my stomach is filled.
Spiritually, the same principal applies. As I study God's word, I am able to deliver understanding and revelation through a well-prepared sermon. Presenting a biblical idea, concept or understanding is an awesome responsibility. I must seek God for truth, because in the delivery of that understanding of truth, I am affecting people's lives, hopefully in a positive way, and helping them understand a concept to have a closer walk with the Lord. The end result, then, is satisfaction in a healthy body of believers to meet with, and being filled with the joy of another getting closer in his or her walk with the Lord.

If I was to use that privilege to twist God's Word to manipulate and deceive people, or to build my own kingdom or ministry, then I am ultimately held accountable to a Holy God. I shudder to think that on my judgment day, I will be accountable for every sermon I preached, every concept I taught, or every time I used the bible to admonish or rebuke a brother. Yikes... I know a lot of people use their knowledge of the scripture to support their own agenda. I pray that never be the case with me.

Does anyone else have any view on this passage of scripture? I wonder if my interpretation is really what this verse is conveying. How about it? Any comments?

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