Vinegar is not good for your teeth. Because it is acidic, it can attack at the enamel of your teeth. Smoke in the eyes can distort your view. It can cause your eyes to burn and water. Today’s proverb compares these things to lazy people.
Vinegar damages the good part of the teeth. Smoke prevents good eye sight. Lazy people definitely irritate their employers. Lazy people damage the work moral of the entire group. Lazy people create tension among the other employees and management. Some of their work load may even fall upon the shoulders of others as a result of their laziness. Like smoke prevents the eyes from seeing perfectly, so do lazy people ruin any chances of the workplace running smoothly.
You might not think slacking at work is a big deal, but it does not only involve you. If you are paid to do something, you should be doing your part. Paul wrote that we were to do our best as if working for the Lord. No matter where we are working or what we are doing, we are to do everything for God’s glory. What image are you showing others when you are like vinegar to teeth?
“Lazy people irritate their employers, like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes.” – Proverbs 10:26
During the summer, I often give my dog Max some ice cubes. When we come inside from a walk, I give him one ice cube to munch on and I try to encourage him to drink his water as well. But first thing in the morning he does not want to accept the ice cube because he expects a bone. Every morning he gets a bone to help clean his teeth. He tosses the ice cube on the floor and sits in defiance waiting for me to give him his bone first. He is focused on getting what is better to him so he won’t budge.
At times we have our focus skewed and we have our eyes focused on something that isn’t actually better for us. Rather than taking the ice cube, we desire the bone. Our eyes light up when we see the bones in life, and we sometimes sacrifice the much needed ice cube for the bone. We do this in many areas of our life—with our family, with our jobs, with money and possessions, etc.
Today, ask God to help you with your focus. Ask Him what areas need adjusted. Seek His guidance and don’t just listen—follow.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” – Proverbs 4:25-26 [NIV]
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” – Philippians 4:8-9 [MSG]
When the temperatures rise, my dog Max likes to be in the air conditioning. Though he comes down in the morning for his breakfast, bone, and a walk, he quickly persuades me to let him back upstairs with the kids because of the air conditioning. He wants to be where it feels good. He wants to be where he is comfortable.
We are told to focus on what is good, pure, and lovely. We should seek those things out, focus on those things, and keep ourselves from turning elsewhere. Sometimes we find ourselves losing our focus because other things catch our eyes. Perhaps the things that are good do not look to help us feel comfortable. Sometimes we are to stay away from what appears comfortable, stay focused on what is pure, and patiently wait for the true comfort that only God can give us.
Comfortable does not always mean it is right. Something that feels good to us may not be good in the eyes of God. Continue to focus on Him. Today, remember these words from Paul and trust God’s promise of peace. Oh, the peace that only He can bring.
Every time I reach my hands into the kitchen drawer with the cooking utensils, it seems like I am pulling out the wrong item. I want the metal tongs but pull out a metal spoon because I focus only on grabbing something metal. I want a heavy duty plastic spoon but instead retrieve the heavy duty plastic spatula. Often we quickly reach for the item, see something that closely resembles what we want, and we make the grab not realizing until it is too late that our eyes have played tricks on us.
This happens in life all of the time, but sometimes it occurs in areas that are more detrimental than simply selecting cooking utensils while preparing a meal. We see something that isn’t the Truth, but it appears to sound like the truth so we support it. Sometimes we find ourselves out in the world of social media and there’s a photo shared with some description. Everything looks to be true. We start commenting on the injustice we see in the photo or we share the photo with others, helping to assist in the lie, not realizing that it is in fact a lie. Some photos are photo shopped or taken out of context, but we have already shared them with our co-workers, family and friends. They have shared the same photos and stories because they trust you. Later it is found that the photos were doctored, the story isn’t even true, and the Truth itself is in question. You went from trying to be a compassionate person showing the injustice or bad situation, only to finding yourself in a bad situation. Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that there is both life and death in our words.
God calls us to be watchful of our steps and of our words. We are to be careful with the words we speak so that we do not tread on the ground of slandering others. Instead we are to be encouraging, speaking love, and being a light for the Truth. It is so easy to get caught up in sharing something as simple as a photo. It doesn’t seem so dangerous, but still there are dangers. If we expect people to believe the Truth when we present it, we want to guarantee that we are not sharing lies with others—we want to protect our moral authority.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29 [ESV]
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1 [ESV]