Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Bread of Idleness

“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:27

Yesterday I began the section of study again on the ‘perfect’ woman in Proverbs 31. We were reminded that this was the king’s mother telling him what kind of wife to look for. And this morning as I continued to think about this chapter, I wondered why exactly the phrasing was used that she “does not eat the bread of idleness.” To read into it that the perfect wife wouldn’t eat bread would be wrong, and yet I was still contemplating the word choice. Why not just say “she’s not lazy”?

Then I had that “ah-ha!” moment that I thought I’d share. Maybe it wasn’t why the author chose to speak in this way, but it gave me something to ‘chew’ on all day.

Have you ever eaten because you’re bored? I think one of the reasons people struggle with overeating at night is because they are busy all day long. But, after dinner as the day is winding down and folks want to relax, the first thing we do is start to feel empty or bored. Many folks unwind to the television or curl up with a good book or even begin to look at social media like facebook, twitter or pinterest. But, whatever the activity is, this is when a majority of people begin to snack, even without feeling the ravenous hunger pangs.

It struck me that idleness can lead to eating. If I have a day when I’m running around, speeding from activity to activity, eating becomes something I squeeze into my schedule based on necessity and energy levels. But, take a rainy day at home when I’m feeling lazy, and I could consume way more calories than any one person should need in a day; and while I call it “hunger” I think “emptiness” would be a better word.

If my time is too empty, I fill it with food. Am I suggesting piling on the activities – enrolling the kids in more athletics or taking on more jobs? By no means! What does the ‘perfect’ woman do with her time? She manages the affairs of her household! Could I fill my empty time with praying for my children, reading or playing with them more, planning our meals, or cleaning our house? Yes, I confess, I could spend more time doing those things than filling my emptiness with random snacking or idle time on the computer.

Have you ever noticed that many extremely obese people seem downright lazy? It’s not a fit for every single person, but more of a general stereotype. Part of me wonders which comes first – when you’re overweight, getting the energy to move and do activities¬† can be a challenge in and of itself. But, a lazy person should be careful because gaining weight can be a result of not breaking free of this bad habit.

If you’re trying to change your habits, I would start with not eating the bread of idleness. If your time is empty, what productive things could you do to manage your household better? Even if you’re not married or don’t have children, there are better ways to spend your time than others.

I think the wording of this verse was purposeful. We shouldn’t be lazy! And we shouldn’t eat whatever comes from being idle. As I was going about my day, I said this verse over and over again. I hope it helps you too!

Dear Heavenly Father, we are grateful for Your Word. We believe it is God-breathed and each word was chosen on purpose. Lord, we thank You for teaching us how to live and be better people. Please make us holy like You. Please forgive our sin and enable us to overcome our old habits. May we manage the affairs of the household where You have placed us; and please keep us from eating the bread of idleness. May we not be lazy but rather intentional with our time. May we not eat out of boredom or emptiness but rather when we need sustenance or energy. May we please You in all we say and do. And God, we humbly ask that You would make us healthy and thin for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Profanity…in the Form of Food

“Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright as of this day.’ And Esau said, ‘Look, I am about to die, so what profit shall this birthright be to me?’ Then Jacob said, ‘Swear to me as of this day.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” Genesis 25:29-34

Can you imagine purchasing something so valuable for so little? I’ve seen a commentator liken it to exchanging a wedding ring for a $1 cheeseburger from the value menu. According to John W. Ritenbaugh (2001) in his online commentary Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Two), Esau’s major character flaw was that he valued immediate, sensual satisfaction over his birthright. He carelessly gave up the things of God to satisfy his appetite.

The Bible says Esau despised his birthright, meaning he treated it scornfully or with contempt. Hebrews 12:16 says “. . . lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.” Profane (unlike what you may think it to be) simply means being irreverent toward what is sacred. Esau treated his sacred God-given birthright carelessly, thus profaning it. After this exchange, Esau’s younger brother Jacob would have his name changed by God to Israel, the father of the Israelite nation.

In a camp as wealthy as their father Isaac’s, there are good chances Esau could have found something else to eat if he was willing to wait rather than go for immediate pleasure. He wasn’t really close to death or starvation, I don’t think, even though he dramatically said this to get his brother to give him some food. Rittenbaugh (2001) notes that Esau is unconcerned about God, the things of God, and the future; instead he is worldly. And too many of us are like him. We as Christians need to get out of the immediate gratification mode when dealing with life’s present circumstances and instead look toward the kingdom of God and what’s important to our Heavenly Father.

“God’s Word depicts Esau’s worldliness through the medium of eating. Eating something he desired at the moment meant more to him than a tremendously valuable gift of God” (Rittenbaugh, 2001). Finally, he comments and I wholeheartedly agree, “It is worth meditating upon how much satisfying immediate cravings and yearnings, perhaps even for food, presents a stumbling block to our pleasing God.”

When I read this commentary on these verses, I knew that there were times I had given up God’s good and pleasing will for my life to satisfy my immediate cravings…yes, even for something silly like food, which doesn’t feel so silly when you’re hungry. But, my desire is to please the Lord in every aspect of life and my prayer is to always consider God’s kingdom before making a rash choice.

Dear Lord, we praise You and thank You today for this word of God and for John Rittenbaugh’s commentary on it. Please forgive us where we have profaned what’s important to You by treating it as common or insignificant. Help us to always focus on the future and the good plans You have for us. Help us say ‘no’ when immediate sensual satisfaction in eating pleasure takes over our good judgment. May we always please You and value things that are valuable to You instead. Help us, Lord Jesus! We can’t do this without You! In Your Name we pray, AMEN!