September 10 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” ~Proverbs 17:1

OLD TESTAMENT

The sage on “the good life.Sometimes less is more. There are people who have a lot of employees, commitments, money, and headaches and who live miserable lives. The simple life—with a few simple pleasures enjoyed in the company of people you love—can be a very good life. The sage uses classic overstatement to make his point: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting and strife” (Prov. 17:1; see also Prov. 15:17). Grilling hamburgers on the back deck with friends, as you laugh until it hurts, is so much better than a fancy steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse with people who are always fighting! Don’t we know it!

The sage on listening before you speak. How many times do people run their mouths on topics they know little about? The sage calls these people fools because they go on and on and on despite their ignorance. A dearth of information doesn’t seem to deter them! “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (Prov. 18:2).

Then there are those who look foolish because they talk before they have gathered or considered all the facts. One of my mentors answers questions in the following way with some regularity: “I would need a lot more information before I could give a good response to that!” Of course, he’s the kind of person who never looks like a fool. The sage says, “He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame” (Prov. 18:13). You don’t have to be very smart for people to think you are smart; all you have to do is learn to keep your mouth shut! (Prov. 17:28).

NEW TESTAMENT

When people have been disciplined (by God) through the faith community and then come to their senses, they need forgiveness and encouragement immediately. People who have messed up big time need their brothers and sisters to come to their assistance. The pressing need for action on the part of the church community is rooted in the possibility that a broken person can be so consumed by grief that he or she might give up on following Christ or even give up on life itself.  “Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow” (2 Cor. 2:7).

The Christian community must be a place that lovingly confronts people for choosing to mess up their lives. It must also be a place that forgives and restores those who come to their senses and want to get their lives back together. This sort of open-heart, open-door practice reflects exactly what Jesus would do, and it is exactly what He expects in His church.


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.