4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Once again, the book of Proverbs gives us its wisdom. What’s the point of quarreling? If you disagree with me, I respect your decision to do so. If I disagree with you, I expect the same. Why? Because it doesn’t make any sense not to!
When I was a child, my mother, father and older sister had many disagreements about politics and they discussed them freely at the dinner table. However, they were not quarrels, but debates. Each person expressed his or her opinion and supported them with the facts as they knew them. If the others were not convinced, it was okay. There was no expectation that they would come to agreement, but that they would agree to disagree.
The second statement is echoed in Aesop’s tale of the ant and the grasshopper. The ant works diligently to store up food for the winter, while the grasshopper plays all day. The grasshopper tells the ant that he is the foolish one and should be enjoying life. However, when winter comes, the ant can be sure that he can survive while the grasshopper is begging him for food. Although it is important that we care for others, it is also important for each of us to do what we can to help ourselves.
The third is interesting to me. Counsel can be defined as advice, opinion, instruction, helpful information, and so on. I have a degree in “counseling” and so have been called upon to give all of these to others. Counsel is also considered to be one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So, where does it fit in here?
I believe that it is all of these things combined. The deep waters that Proverbs speaks of, is the well of advice, information and valued opinions that we have stored up so that we can make good judgments and decisions. It is important that we do not make decisions without knowing and examining the facts of a situation.
Lord, we thank you for the wisdom of Proverbs. May we have the wisdom to avoid quarrels, to be industrious, and to listen to the voice of the Spirit in all our decisions. Amen.