Friday, September 13, 2013

Proverbs 23:1-3, 6-8 Sometimes a table for one is preferable!

I decided to go to The Message Bible for today’s verses, which offer some very practical advice when dining with others:

When you go out to dinner with an influential person,

    mind your manners:

Don’t gobble your food,

    don’t talk with your mouth full.

And don’t stuff yourself;

    bridle your appetite. 
 ...Don’t accept a meal from a tightwad;

    don’t expect anything special.

He’ll be as stingy with you as he is with himself;

    he’ll say, “Eat! Drink!” but won’t mean a word of it.

His miserly serving will turn your stomach

    when you realize the meal’s a sham. (Proverbs 23:1-3,6-8)

Both of these verses have to do with accepting invitations to dine with two kinds of people. The first is the wealthy, influential person. An invitation from this person probably turns your head a bit, because it seems a privilege, especially in our era of celebrity worship. How exciting to be considered a “friend” of the influential. Hey, that’s nothing! As Christians, we are children of the King of Kings!

In the English Standard Version you see a bit more about the influential person in verse 3: "Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive."  I’m thinking this adds a nuance to the character of the influential person - he’s probably manipulative. His motivation for inviting you to dine may not be just to enjoy your company! So the warning is to be careful when dining with him. Watch your manners, but be wary of your own desire to impress him and your own tendency to be impressed BY him!

The second person identified in these verses is the tightwad, who extends a generous invitation, but in reality is counting the cost of every bite you take. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the stingiest people are the ones with the most money? Maybe that’s how they have amassed their money - by holding onto it with both fists. This person invites you to feast while adding up in his head the cost of each bite you take!

These people may make dining alone look like the better option! Certainly you would want to think twice before accepting an invitation from either of them. However, the more important lesson here may be to determine not to be one of them! When we offer invitations, do we seek out those who can do something for us? Do we have a motivation other than just enjoying the company of friends?

How are we with our money? Are we generous with others, or do we also fret inwardly when we are paying the way for others? When splitting up a check at a restaurant do we get out our calculators to be sure we don’t pay one cent more than our “fair share?” Do we hold onto our money so tightly that we have forgotten how to give generously what is God’s anyway? What kind of hosts are we?

I love how the Proverbs are so real!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sally, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris