September 6, 2021
Proverbs 8:32-9:6 (NRSV)32 “And now, my children, listen to me:
happy are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
34 Happy is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord;
36 but those who miss me injure themselves;
all who hate me love death.”
9 Wisdom has built her house,
she has hewn her seven pillars.
2 She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine,
she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls
from the highest places in the town,
4 “You that are simple, turn in here!”
To those without sense she says,
5 “Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Lay aside immaturity, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”
DevotionI love spending time at the lathe in my woodturning studio, otherwise known as my garage, turning chunks of wood into objects of art or utility, which is a satisfying and rewarding hobby. Often, I see publications from the American Association of Woodturners or local chapter newsletters containing articles on safety. After all, the lathe does spin wood at 600-2,000 revolutions per minute, and the cutting tools are sharp. And don’t forget the shavings and dust! Face, eye, and lung protection are recommended. One caution sign reads, “This machine has no brain; use your own!” Safety tips remind me never to grow weary of best practices. Safety in the shop allows me to turn another day.
The writer of Proverbs says, “hear instruction and be wise, do not neglect it.” Life has its rules, and we ignore them to our own detriment. We may get by this time, but sooner or later bad practices lead to unpleasant outcomes. How often have we said to ourselves, “I knew better!” In the heat of conflict or infatuation, we forget what we knew in the past, which is not so much a lesson on morality as a teaching of the heart. Stay focused on what promises opportunity and avoid what leads us to a dead end. We do better when we look for life-giving sources. These are God’s good gifts – free, renewable and sustainable.