SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The first verse in this chapter reminds us that our character and reputation are more important than any amount of money we could earn.
- If you're a parent, verse 6 is not a guarantee from God that your kids will follow him when they get old if you take them to church. The author is saying that if we really teach our children how to have a relationship with God, they will be more likely to follow that way of life for themselves.
- A few times in this reading we are told to be generous and to take care of those less fortunate than ourselves.
- In verse 24 we’re warned not to spend too much time with people who get angry quickly.
- The last verse in this chapter reminds us to strive diligently at our jobs, whatever they are, to become the best. This is reinforced later in the Bible, in Colossians 3:23, which says we should "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."
- The underlying theme in today's reading is motive. If our motives are pure and God-centered, our lives (and our children's lives) will reflect that. If we just go through the motions and try to do the right things without the right motives, our actions will be meaningless.
- In every situation -- whether it's interacting with our kids or selecting who we hang out with or making work-related decisions -- we need to elevate God above all else. If honoring God is not our motive, our actions are worthless.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Do you go to church (or take your kids to church) because you think going to church is all you need to be a "good" person? This is a misplaced motive. Ask God to help you understand who he truly is and the kind of relationship he wants you to have with him. This might mean spending more time with God yourself, or talking about God with your family more regularly.
- Is there a decision you're facing that could be swayed in a big way by your motive? Take the decision to God and ask him to guide you to what's best for him, even if it doesn't seem best for you right now.