Single post

The Heart-Whisperer

January 20th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 11: 16-18 (NLT)

16 A gracious woman gains respect,
      but ruthless men gain only wealth.

 17 Your kindness will reward you,
      but your cruelty will destroy you.

 18 Evil people get rich for the moment,
      but the reward of the godly will last.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

My dog is quite the display of canine perfection.  He is almost three years old and when Laura and I first brought him home, he easily fit into the palm of my hand. The runt of the litter, he was a bit smaller than his siblings.  We had researched for months what kind of dog to acquire and we landed on a hybrid-breed that was a cross between a Bischon and a Poodle . . . a Bischon Poo . . . or a Poo-schon.  

Most Bischons are white and the litter from which he came had mostly white dogs as well.  But not this little puppy– he was jet black.  Unlike the other puppies, this little guy seemed a bit more timid . . . so much so that we even jokingly wondered if the breeder had sedated him.  When we saw him, trembling and gentle, I knew that I was not getting out of there without that little puppy unless I wanted to go home alone.  So, as we took him back to our homestead, we brainstormed an appropriate name for our tiny little companion.  Small.  Gentle.  Serene.  Yeah, he needed a name that reflected all of those things . . . Brutus it was!

When we brought our little Bischon Poo home, my biggest concern was that he not leave little “bischon-poos” all over my house.  Thus, the training period began.  I don’t remember it being all that difficult except that we had to get used to the idea of Brutus staying in a crate most of the time.  If we weren’t playing with him, then the crate was his home.  Why?  Because he was still being trained on the appropriate behavior within the house.

Training a dog requires two separate techniques to be successful.  Mind you, Brutus isn’t jumping through hoops, walking on two legs, barking “I Ruv Roo”, fetching my paper and slippers every morning, retrieving ducks in a hunting party, or even rolling over . . . wow, I just realized how poor of a dog-trainer I really am.  But he has a few essential commands that he understands and responds well to.  Sit.  Stay. No.  Outside.  To learn these, he had to be told “no” often and he had to be rewarded when he was successful.  Discipline and rewards are both key to training.

Such is true also for our lives.  Much of proverbial wisdom centers around this concept.  We, like Brutus, are experiencing training.  We are learning the right and the wrong ways to live the lives we’ve been entrusted with.  These passages seem to focus on this idea of reward and discipline.  They are the commands that should help us develop our skills.

First of all, we find that “a gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.”  The two behaviors here are complete opposites: “graciousness” versus “ruthlessness.”  The male and female part isn’t really the focus; the behavior is.  What are the expected rewards for these divergent lifestyle choices?  That’s as easy as a little doggie treat or the end of a newspaper.  “Respect” comes from a lifestyle of showing grace, while “only wealth” comes to ruthless people.  The key word here is the “only” because it indicates that though wealth may be attained, it will be missing something truly rewarding.

Secondly, we find that “kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.”  Again, two choices with two opposing outcomes.  Kindness will bring a reward . . . a treat if you will.  Cruelty . . . destruction to everything in life that matters to you.  Can you imagine how different our world would be if people would understand and heed to this truth?

And finally, “evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.”  This passage speaks to the nature and longevity of rewards.  If riches are the goal in life, then just like the fun that Brutus has while shredding a roll of toilet paper or diving into the bottom of the trash can for a stray chicken bone, his reward is temporary and fleeting.  Why?  Because he has attained it outside of the will of his master.  Conversely, those who pursue godliness . . . who live a life pleasing to their Master . . . will have an eternal reward.

It worked out well for Brutus.  He listened and obeyed, learning his role in our home.  Now, he doesn’t sleep in crates anymore.  He snoozes away at the feet of his master every night.  

Sounds like a pretty nice place to be.


theme by teslathemes