September 8 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.” ~Proverbs 14:9

OLD TESTAMENT

The sage dishes out advice for the young (and old!). He stresses the importance of having a receptive heart because he has so much to say on so many topics: speech, work, integrity, money, pride, hope, friendships, fools, self-deception, anger and more.

The sage offers age-old counsel that has stood the test of time. In fact, every generation seems to discover the truth of his wisdom anew. Consider, for example, his advice to the young, whom he urges to heed the instruction of their parents (Prov. 13:1)—they have seen a few things in this world. “He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored” (Prov. 13:18).

Many of the sage’s warnings are related to the use of the tongue. If we learn how to use words well, we will be blessed! “From the fruit of a man’s lips a man enjoys good things” (Prov. 13:2). The sage does not view the mouth as something evil. (He is using his mouth to teach after all!) Rather, it is something that must be used properly. One must develop the discipline to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. For the same mouth that can bring us blessing can also bring us a beating, “A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them” (Prov. 14:3).

The sage also warns that “a righteous man is cautious in friendship” (Prov. 12:26).  Friends have a tremendous impact on our lives. Next to marriage, the most important personal decisions you make are whom you will have in your life. “He who walks with the wise will be wise, but a companion of fools will be destroyed” (Prov. 13:20). So it is prudent to choose wise friends and to stay away from fools (Prov. 14:7). Interestingly, in the proverbs, we are told how to handle fools. Don’t befriend them. Don’t try to correct them. Just avoid them altogether!

NEW TESTAMENT

Paul concludes his letter to the Corinthians by encouraging them to give their tithes and offerings “on the first day of every week” (Sunday). After a scathing sermon to the Corinthian church, he passes the offering plate! Paul was certainly a bold leader.

Early in the Christian tradition, the collection of Sunday offerings became a permanent fixture in the order of worship. These offerings were used for helping the poor, assisting other churches in need (1 Cor. 16:3), supporting those who devoted their life to serving the church (pastors, elders, assistants), the work of missions and missionaries, and the maintenance of places of worship. (The last was inspired by Old Testament tradition).

Giving is a win-win-win. You win because God promises to bless you. Others win because they are blessed through your giving. And God wins because He is glorified. Whether you are a student or a senior, if you have an income, make sure you are setting aside some of it for the first day of the week as an act of worship to the Lord.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.