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!

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