OYB October 15

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Devotions, One Year Bible

Posted 21 October 2006, back-dated.

Today´s reading:
OT: Jeremiah 26-27
NT: II Thessalonians 3
Ps: Psalm 85
Pr: Proverbs 25:16

Today´s notable verse:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

II Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV)

It seems I have often heard this maxim misquoted as, "If a man does not work, he shall not eat." The former is both fair and compassionate; the latter is Marxist. The former recognizes that one's responsibility is commensurate with his ability, and that society carries some burden for those who are unable to provide for themselves; the latter indicates that one who cannot work is a burden to society, and dispensible. The former recognizes the inherent worth of man as an endowment from his Creator; the latter implies that human worth is inherent only insofar as one is able to produce.

The significant difference lies in will and does. A man who will not work has the ability to work but chooses not to do so. Paul is speaking not against the failure to produce work but rather the failure to choose to uphold one's responsibility to the extent that he is able to do so.

If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit.

Provbers 25:16 (NIV)

Moderation is an important virtue in Christian living. This virtue applies to most areas of life, including the area from which the imagery of this verse is taken: diet. Having spent most of my youth and college years overweight, I have some experience with dieting and weight loss. Even though I lost a considerable amount of weight, I do not take the approach that any certain food is always and forever off-limits. The key, of course, is moderation. I have chosen a carbohydrate-restricted way of eating in which refined sugar, flour, and starch are a very minimal part of my diet; however, that does not mean that I have eliminated such foods forever from my diet. Rather, in moderation I might have a serving-spoonful of home fries with a breakfast meal once in a while, rather than three potatoes' worth every day.

This same principle applies to other areas of life. I may have a small glass of wine with dinner a few nights a week. I may go see a movie in a theater once a month. I may spend a few hours a week playing tennis or in some other form of exercise. I spend my time in the office working hard, with the mindset that I work to live rather than live to work. One of the keys to understanding the principle of moderation is, I think, found in Paul's words elsewhere:

"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything.

I Corinthians 6:12 (NIV)

"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive.

I Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)

In other words, the key to moderation is keeping God as Lord of our lives, and maintaining our priorities according to His principles. In so doing, we make choices accordingly in our lives, and therefore are not mastered by anything. Moderation is a principle of self-denial of gratification or over-indulgence, in order to set apart our lives for the greater good.

The One Year Bible Blog´s comments for today.