“I want what I want,” I whine. The Lord answers, “the being of the lazy one craves, but has not; while the being of the hard workers are enriched.”  Proverbs 13:4.

“But I don’t want to do that. It’s too hard, Father. Can’t you just bless me (i.e., give it to me)?” The Lord answers, “wealth from vanity diminishes, but he who gathers by hand increases.”  Proverbs 13:11.

In other words, I crave, but I refuse to make the sacrifice necessary to receive. 

Vanity is full of pride, puffed up, standing and demanding immediate gratification without sacrifice. Trampling both good and bad.

Gathering by hand is done with care, humbly kneeling or bending, slowly and thoughtfully wrought with discernment and persistence.

Vanity demands the goods but learns nothing of where they came from, lacks appreciation, and diminishes the value of the goods themselves.

Gathering by hand requires strength and patience, instills gratefulness, creates ownership, and teaches proper stewardship.

In our day of immediate gratification, the discipline of patient, persistent effort has been forgotten by many. The chapter of Proverbs 13 is peppered with exhortations which could be boiled down to watch your mouth, work hard and you’ll eat to the satisfying of your being.

So, now, what’s pepper without salt? The element of the earth that grounds us, enhances the savoriness and the sweetness of the life God has given us. These are the instructions of the Wise Words of Torah. To treat others rightly, be honest, kind, be aware of the fruit of our mouth, to walk with the wise, avoid the fools, buckle down and do the things we’re supposed to do.

In essence, to be the salt – and pepper – of the earth.

Adhering to these Wise Words is what makes life savory, tasty, delicious, fragrant, sweet; even adventurous, full of surprises, and always nourishing to body, soul, and spirit. To be about the tasks He’s given me to do is me being the testimony of His life in me.

There are days, weeks of days, when I forget this, when I shrink back and wallow in my disappointments and frustrations, inoculating myself against the exquisite blessings directly in front of me.

Father, forgive me for my blind ingratitude, for slapping Your hand away with my whining when You comfort me with Your simple beauty.

Forgive me for ignoring my need to get my hands dirty, and for rejecting the blessing of the satisfaction for a job well done. These things are deep cravings in my heart. To find fulfillment in work fills me with the joy that comes from participating in the life You have set for me.

Restore my sight. Quickly extend Your merciful reminder to look up from the vanity that ever threatens to overtake me, that I may be one of the righteous who eats to the satisfying of his being. Proverbs 13:25.

For Your Name’s sake, oh Lord. And for the sake of Your Kingdom.

Candi Runyon

BYNA Strategic Prayer Director

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