Proverbs 12:27

The Value of Material Possessions

 

To the Slothful Man

The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting…

1. The slothful man:

a. Slothful: laxness; slackness; slackening; deceit; treachery.

b. This term seems to imply more than laziness… it is a laziness that attempts to deceive… or cover up its true colors…

c. The term is used 15 times in the Old Testament; 1 time = guile; 11 times = deceit or deceitful; 1 time = slack hand; 2 times = slothful; 1 time idle.

d. All of the times when it is translated highlighting the “lazy” side of the term are found in Proverbs (slack; idle; slothful).

e. In each of those cases it SHOULD emphasize the lazy side of the term, because the context demands it… as in this verse.

2. He roasteth not…

a. The slothful man is being criticized for not roasting the game he caught in the hunt.

b. He went hunting. He was successful in either trapping or shooting an animal… but, he didn’t roast it.

3. The result… WASTE.

a. When meat isn’t cooked, it rots rather quickly.

b. Once it rots, it is useless.

c. That which could have been of great value, was wasted due to negligence and laziness.

d. Prov. 18:9 – the lazy man is a brother to one who WASTES.
• Brothers—cut from the same cloth… the same family…
• The lazy man wastes the good gifts God has given…
• He wastes time, talents, opportunities, and material possessions.
• Sometimes all it takes is a little effort to prevent that waste too.
• A stitch in time saves nine!
• Cooking that meat or salting it makes it last longer… It takes a little effort and diligence, but it pays great dividends.

4. Possible reasons for not roasting…

a. Abundance…
• Perhaps he caught so many he ate some, and didn’t bother with the rest.
• Even if it was abundance—more so than the hunter could ever have eaten, he could have given it to the poor… but he didn’t.
• Abundance is no excuse for laziness or wasting goods.

b. Procrastination…
• A hunter who caught two deer perhaps got excited and did all the work in skinning one… roasted it and ate it…
• But he kept putting off skinning and cooking the other one… until it was too late. He discovered that the meat began to rot!

c. Too tired after the hunt…
• Perhaps he excused his behavior by convincing himself that he was too tired.
• He did all the work of hunting… but felt too tired to finish the job… skin and cook or salt the meat…
• And the meat rotted!

d. The hunt was exciting, but skinning and cooking wasn’t fun…
• Perhaps he didn’t cook the meat because he didn’t LIKE that part.
• He loved hunting… but he wasn’t interested in the skinning and cooking… it wasn’t appealing to him… so it never got done…
• And the meat rotted… wasted…
• This verse always reminds me of the cowboys riding the first trains across America and shooting the buffalo just for fun…

e. Laziness…
• Whatever the immediate excuse might be, they are all traced back to slothfulness… laziness…
• And as a result of his laziness… the meat rotted and was wasted. Perfectly good meat was wasted.

5. This spirit demonstrates a lack of appreciation for the VALUE of gifts of God.

a. James 1:17 – The animals that the hunter caught, were in fact, gifts from God.

b. The slothful man ruined a gift God gave him. This is the ultimate in poor stewardship.

c. Certainly this could be applied to other areas of life as well… other “good gifts” that God provides… which should be VALUED and used to their fullest… not squandered or wasted.

6. Hunting for food, leather, and horns may not seem to have much immediate application to most of us.

a. However, the principle certainly applies.

b. We may not hunt for our goods, but we DO go to school or to work.
• The things we learn in school… or the money we earn at work are also commodities that we should value… and take care of.
• Just as the hunter might be able to take out his bow and catch 3 pheasants… the principle is that he should exercise good stewardship over those 3 pheasants.
• Don’t waste the gifts God gives… don’t neglect them…

c. We earn money… we buy machinery, a house, and other material goods.

d. We too are expected to be good stewards of those things…
• The man who spends thousands of dollars on a car ought to have the oil changed… and maintain that vehicle!
• The man who spends thousands on a home ought to be diligent in the upkeep of that home.
• If we aren’t diligent about the upkeep… that car or that home could be ruined… like the meat that rotted.
• And what about our own bodies? Take care of it… don’t neglect it and let it rot… like the hunter’s wasted meat!

7. Don’t waste what God has given you! Put it to good use—for God’s glory!

a. Brains… don’t waste them! Study hard! Don’t waste those valuable school years!

b. Talents… art… musical instrument… singing… craftsmanship… teaching… helping… giving… administration…

c. Don’t let them sit around and rot; put them to good use! Use it or lose it.

8. Someone is sure to say, in a spirit of artificial piety and false humility: “Well, I don’t care much about material things. I don’t want to be worldly or materialistic. Therefore, I don’t pay much attention to them. If they rot, so be it. I am too heavenly minded to care about earthly things.”

a. This is twisted thinking. It is NOT spiritual.
• This kind of thinking is akin to the Gnostic error… that material things are evil and spiritual things are good.
• The gnostic thinks and behaves as if there were some sort of disconnect between being occupied with heavenly things and our earthly life… between the spiritual realm and the physical realm.
• There is no disconnect. Our lives on earth are DIRECTLY linked to spiritual and eternal things…
• Every thought word, and DEED is being recorded and will one day be judged and rewarded.
• We are to live our spiritual lives in a material world… created by God. Everything God made is good.

b. Material goods are entrusted to us… for our use… benefit… pleasure… but especially as a TEST of our faith.
• Will we love them? Will we be generous with them? Will we acknowledge them as gifts from God and thank Him for them? Will we take care of them as God has commanded? Will we value them as gifts from God and use them for His glory? (I Tim. 6:17-19)
• The way we relate to and interact with the physical world around us… ought to be an expression of our submission to our Heavenly Father…
• He hasn’t told us to retreat to a cave and chant OM!
• He sends us INTO the world and commands us to be NOT conformed by the world, but transformed in our minds—into the image of Christ.

c. As a carpenter, it is fair to say that JESUS took the best care of His tools; He didn’t waste wood or other materials;

d. Caring for our earthly possessions is one of the ways that we demonstrate TRUE heavenly mindedness…
• WHEN we are God-conscious… we will do our best for Him.
• WHEN we do so in obedience to the Word…
• WHEN we do so in submission to our Heavenly Father and His Word.
• This is being truly heavenly-minded… living life on earth as if even the tiniest details (down to washing our car or painting the fence!) has eternal ramifications — because they DO.

e. In fact, it is not heavenly mindedness that causes a person to say, “I don’t care about material possessions.” This kind of thinking IS often worldly!
• We SHOULD care about the physical gifts God has given… and that care should follow the principles in the Word…
• Spiritual thinking will always be in harmony with the Scriptures.
• Worldly thinking ignores the principles in the Scriptures.

f. Taking good care of earthly possessions does not mean that we are materialistic.
• It COULD be—if we are overly careful about them… worry about them… love them… live for them… crave and covet them…
• It is NOT materialistic to CARE for them according the Scriptures.
• That is good stewardship… it is obedience… it is wisdom…

To the Diligent Man

But the substance of a diligent man is precious.

1. In contrast to the worldly mindset of the slothful man who wastes what God has given him is the attitude of the diligent man.

a. Substance: wealth; riches; substance. (His earthly goods; physical things.)

b. The diligent man sees the substance (physical things) as precious.

c. Precious: valuable, prized, weighty, precious, rare, splendid
• This does not mean that he LOVES those things or is covetous.
• Rather, it means that he sees the value in things.

2. This man is wise. He sees the value in every gift of God.

a. He may be a poor man… and may not have as MUCH property as a rich, lazy man, but whatever he has, he values and takes care of it.

b. To him, it is precious… He will not let things rot, rust, and decay.

c. He will be diligent about the upkeep of his property. (paint; termites; etc.)

d. He will be diligent because he sees the VALUE in it.

3. If he has extra things he doesn’t need, he won’t let them waste away. He will put them to good use.

a. He will either sell them and buy things he DOES need…

b. Or he will take care of them until he finds a use for them.

c. Or perhaps he will give them to someone in need.

d. This man is probably frustrated when he sees others waste gifts from God…

e. He goes by the field of the slothful and is upset… that such a potentially productive field is being wasted because a lazy man lives there!

4. This wise man sees the SPIRITUAL VALUE in taking care of God’s gifts

a. It is part of his testimony before the world…

b. Our use and care for material things is spiritual training… an ongoing exercise in submitting to Scriptural principles in our everyday daily life…

c. He sees such material goods as opportunities to help others…

d. He sees them as opportunities to advance the cause of Christ…

e. He sees potential in them… and refuses to waste them.

f. The spiritual man will see in his earthly possessions an opportunity to manifest Christlikeness through his heart attitude towards, his care of, his unselfish generosity with, and his wise use of his earthly goods.

g. The use of material goods is a most profitable spiritual exercise…
• This spiritual exercise includes guarding the heart against covetousness and loving the things of the world…
• It includes practicing giving and selflessness…
• It includes the practice of seeking things above… and using earthly good to heap up treasures in heaven…
• It includes the healthy discipline of upkeep of our property… developing a healthy work ethic…
• The treatment and care of possessions is excellent training for kids!

The contrast:

The slothful man does not value his possessions… and through negligence, he wastes them.

The diligent man sees the value of his possessions—he sees them as gifts from God—and he sees them as his stewardship from God…

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