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Ring Ring Time to “Wake Up”!

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Last week I decided that it was time for me to create a “new” life/work schedule. I was determined to alter a nearly 4 decades old ritual where I would begin my day between 6 and 6:30 AM. In my “wisdom” I believed that creating a new habit and starting my day at 4:30 A.M. would be easy! My plan would allow me ample time to wake up and write BEFORE prepping breakfast, packing a lunch and driving my son to school. It all made so much sense until the alarm clock went off. Once that stupid ringer sounded, I quickly and with a bit of irritation and frustration, would reach for my phone, turn the alarm off and tell Siri to set a new alarm for my regular wake up time of 6 am.

What I find interesting is that to some of you, 4:30 seems like a piece of cake, while to others of you 6 A.M. sounds like a stretch. For nearly 2 decades of my life I was a musician. In those days waking up at 4:30 would have been impossible because more often than not, I hadn’t even gone to bed yet! Time is what we make of it. As many self help experts have already stated, time is the great equalizer. Each day, we all have the exact same amount of it, 24 hours. And since that is true, how is it that one person seems to accomplish so much more in their 24 hours than another?  Or for that matter in their life?

I swear that I have some friends that NEVER sleep, at least according to their social media posts! But is “sleep” really what God is referring to in Proverbs 20:13 or is sleep simply a metaphor? Here is the verse. Proverbs 20:13 Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.  While I certainly like to lay on my comfy bed and get a good night’s rest, I certainly don’t “love” sleep. In fact, for as long as I can remember I wake up early and stay up late. Often only sleeping 5-7 hours a night. Yet, many days go by where I don’t feel nearly as productive as I should be. Many days I feel as though my day is controlling me rather than me, controlling my day.

Sometimes it’s due to the commitments that come with raising a child as a divorced father. Other times its because I lose valuable time while working on projects of little importance. Even worse is when I find myself losing time binge watching Netflix, playing a video game or talking on the phone. However, without question, the biggest “soaker” of time for me is and always has been my thoughts. Those darn negative thoughts used to have the power to transport me down a rabbit hole of epic proportion. Today, through a lot of self awareness, honestly and hard work, those epic rabbit holes have become more like a shallow trench. I still find myself falling in the trench but once I recognize that I’m there, it is a lot easier to step out of the trench that it was to leave the rabbit hole.

If there were a stop watch on my life that tracked the countless hours I have spent worrying about things that I can’t control, thinking about things that do not matter or giving my energy to those that don’t deserve it, I would be truly sad to see how much time I have wasted. If you add to that all the hours that I have spent in pursuit of things that don’t matter or doing things that serve no purpose, I could become downright depressed.

When I first thought about this verse it was all about my alarm clock. I took it as a sign from God that I needed to follow through and wake up earlier in the day. However, after examining this verse more closely, I believe that God isn’t telling me to wake up earlier, what God is actually saying to me is that it is time to “WAKE UP!”.

“Sleep” isn’t about the time we spend laying down with our eyes closed. “Sleep” is about all the time we waste as we “sleep walk” through life, unfocused, without direction and with no purpose. If you are reading this and agree but for what ever reason are still unsure of your purpose, please take some advice from one of my favorite books, “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. In his book Gay states that finding your purpose is easy. All you have to do is ask yourself 2 questions. 1) Who do I serve? 2) How do I serve them?

When we begin to live with the purpose for which God created us to live, we will no longer “sleep walk” through life. Rather, we will stay “awake” with an abundance of “food” to feed our soul.

I hope that you have a great day!

Kevin

Desire VS. Knowledge

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As I was searching for today’s verse, I couldn’t help but notice that Proverbs 19:2 was contrary to some of my currently held beliefs. The verse reads,Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” Therefore, I decided to examine this verse and put my current beliefs to the test.

Have you ever helped or watched a child learn to walk? Most likely you have. Before they started walking did you send them to walking school or give them a book to read? Of course not, they simply saw others walking, had a DESIRE to do the same and after some or many failed attempts, they walked. What if they had the knowledge to walk but no desire? Would they ever walk? It’s hard to say, maybe one day out of necessity they would begin to walk but isn’t it true that necessity would actually fuel their desire?  This is just one reason that at first blush, this verse caught my attention and made absolutely no sense to me. I could think of many other situations where DESIRE must come first. I can also recall plenty of circumstances where people with a burning desire, have paralyzed themselves into inactivity while they tried to learn EVERYTHING they could about a topic before taking action.

Now before you persecute me, let me say that I do understand the intention of the verse. It means that desire, without the necessary knowledge required, will not take you to your intended goal. We are being warned that it is better to seek knowledge and combine that knowledge with our desire so that we can avoid mistakes and wasted time/effort which will lead our efforts astray.

Since I really wasn’t resonating with the “Desire without knowledge is not good” part of the verse, I decided to compare other translations for this verse against NIV version above. When I did, I found the results absolutely fascinating! The irony is that if I had only DESIRED to read the Bible and not seek KNOWLEDGE, I may have missed the mark!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the Bible has been translated MANY times. Since I prefer an easier read, I refer to and read the NIV (New International Version) translation. However, similar to “The Telephone Game”, where everyone in a circle whispers a secret to each other until it gets back to the original person, the original message is often times, lost in translation.

Below I have posted the same verse translated 36 different ways. I challenge you to read all of them. I offer you this challenge so that you can see for yourself how important it is to seek knowledge, conduct research and view topics and points of view from all perspectives BEFORE you make up your mind on what is right for you. Far too often in my life I have taken information and people’s words at face value. For example, have you ever read a news article and simply believed that because it was published in your favorite newspaper or the message was reported by your favorite news reporter, that what it was that you were reading or listening to was fact; only find out days later that they got the story wrong? I’m pretty sure that at one point or another we have all made that mistake.

Today’s verse taught me the importance of waiting to make a judgement until you seek more information. It taught me that it is okay to “challenge” popular thought, even if it is written in the Bible. It also taught me that above all else, I have to trust MY gut, avoid popular consensus and do the research to make my OWN decisions. I hope you will too!

Have a great day!

Kevin

Compare Translations for Proverbs 19:2

 

From <https://www.biblestudytools.com/proverbs/19-2-compare.html>

Are You Acting a Fool?

 

Ijesterdreamstime_l_25301185‘m a fool… and you may be one too. This morning as I was reading through Proverbs, there were so many interesting verses that caused me reflect on who I am as a person. Once such verse was Proverbs 18:2 “fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions”. If you know me at all, then you definitely know that I can be opinionated. When I know what I know, it can be very difficult to persuade me to believe otherwise. There is nothing wrong with having a well formed opinion that is based on fact, experience, research and the knowledge of experts. However, when you voice your opinion about a topic that you have very little knowledge or personal experience in, you may be acting a fool.

I remember having a phone call with a close friend of mine nearly seven years ago. She called me out of the blue and was SOOOO EXCITED!!!!! I had known this friend for many years and since I really respected her and her opinion, I was interested to hear what she had to say. However, after about 30 seconds, like a porcupine sensing danger, the quills on my body stood up! Porcupines have poor vision, they can’t see where danger is coming from, therefore they use their quills to protect themselves. Since I am not a porcupine and I don’t have quills to protect myself, I have to resort to other means of self defense. Since I am a big guy I have several different options at my disposal, however the thought of physically harming one of the most loving people I know would have been downright evil, so I resorted to my next best weapon, my mouth.

Looking back now it easy to see how foolish I was that day. Because I had been in sales much of my adult life, each time a friend or family member joined one of those “pyramid schemes”, I was at the top of their contact list. Because of that, I could sense an “opportunity” from a mile away. This time was no different. I remember the first words that came out of my mouth that day…”oh no, not you too!” And even though she tried to reassure me that this one was “different” (everyone says theirs is DIFFERENT), I wanted nothing to do with it. The more she talked, the more I resisted. The more I resisted, the more she talked. Finally she asked me to watch an ABC Primetime News report and reluctantly I agreed.

Honestly, I think I would have done ANYTHING at that point to get her to shut up! Little did I know that watching the video would only be the beginning of what seemed to be an endless, mind-numbing and frustrating conversation about the topic.

The ABC report introduced me to scientific terms and people (apparently “world renowned” scientists) that I had never heard before. The whole thing seemed fishy and I certainly wasn’t going to “buy” into it! No way, I am too smart for that! So when my friend called me back and asked me what I thought, I went off on her! I questioned the validity of the science they spoke of, the scientists interviewed, the product they introduced and the credibility and motivation of ABC news. I made statements of ignorance from a place of self-protection. I specifically remember stating that places like www.pubmed.gov , a government website housing decades of scientific research, was nothing more than a hoax. I even claimed that ANYONE could buy a .gov domain name. I told her that scientific terms like “oxidative stress” and “SOD” didn’t exist and that the “world renowned” scientist in the ABC report was nothing more than a company paid spokesperson in a white coat. I made all of these statements without any research, personal experience or knowledge of the topic. To put it in God’s words, I was a fool.

As I write this, I wonder how many other times in my life, whether from a place of arrogance or self protection, I have made similar mistakes. I wonder how many times I have spoken foolishly while the other person, knowing that I am a fool, simply smiled and went on their merry way.

In Proverbs 16:16 God says that we should choose understanding rather than silver. With that in mind, consider today’s verse. Proverbs 18:2 “fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions”.  God is making it very clear that UNDERSTANDING is one of the keys to living a successful and fulfilled life and that we SHOULD find pleasure in understanding each other!

Consider this, what if the next time we disagree or are angry with a friend or loved one, before reacting (did you know that behavioral experts consider reacting to be an immature response?) we sought understanding. What if we asked questions and viewed the situation from other perspectives? What if we collected all this data first and responded second? (a response is a mature, well thought out behavior based off facts and the perspectives of other people involved)

If we did this, we would no longer be a fool! (somehow I think this is going to be easier said, than done)

Have a great day!

Kevin

PS- 7 years later it turns out that I was wrong and my friend was right. Her love for me and her intense, yet very annoying inability to give up, has changed and blessed my life in many, many ways. I will forever be grateful! Lesson learned. (sort of) 🙂

Make a Choice!

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This morning, in all my “wisdom”, I decided to wait until I dropped Ethan off at school before filling my tank with gas. At one point Ethan even said, “Dad, you’re low on gas”, to which I responded, “relax I know my car.” Well, apparently God wanted to teach me a lesson and put me in my place because literally, 50 feet from the gas station, my car ran out of gas and came to a slow, crawling stop and as it did, I couldn’t help but tune my mind into Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic”. Mister know it all…never needs gas. He drops his kid at school and heads out fast. With the station in sight, his car runs out. Twenty dollars for a can and 5 degrees out… Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think? Hopefully you know the song so you can sing along!

Fortunately for me there was a nice police officer named Jackie inside filling up her coffee cup. She graciously asked me if I would like a ride back to my house so I could avoid the over inflated price of a one gallon gas can. I accepted her offer and off we went. On the way to my house, to pick up my can of gas, she asked me what I did for a living. It was at that moment that I truly understood that most people have no idea of what it is that I do, even after I tell them!

When I am asked what I do for a living, my answer often receives a blank stare in return. To help eliminate the confusion, I have tried numerous different titles to describe my occupation as a coach. Fulfillment Coach, Health Coach, Wisdom Coach, Transformation Coach and Life Coach are all titles that I have tried on for size until finally settling in on my current description, Personal Coach. No matter the title, the response is most often the same…”What’s that?” followed by, “I don’t have any problems” or something along those lines. Apparently, many people don’t understand the concept of having a personal coach. To be honest, a few years back, I didn’t either. Not until I found myself over a 1700 miles away from home, sitting in a diner, having breakfast with a Wisdom Teacher named Tawny.

My first conversation with Tawny, was difficult, to put it mildly. After 90 minutes I was convinced that she knew me better than I knew myself and that’s when she told me something that I will NEVER forget. She said, “Kevin, I help people do one of two things. I either help them prepare for death or I help them live the life that God created them to live. While I am interested in helping you live, I have no interest in watching you die.” Tawny’s words that day woke me up. It’s not that I haven’t had many struggles since then, but from that moment forth, each mistake I have made, each lesson I have learned, has become a part of the fabric that makes me who I am. I am not now and never will be perfect. But the one thing that I am, is a seeker. I am a seeker for truth, knowledge, purpose, passion, love, friendship and wisdom (knowledge in action).

As a Personal Coach, I help people see their world differently. And when they see their world differently, things that they perceived as obstacles, only moments before, become incredible blessings and opportunities to change THEIR life for the better. Through raw honesty, compassion, intense listening and an abundance of thought provoking, questions, I help people understand and take action on the things that they already know they should or want to be doing but aren’t. Sometimes its easy but many times its not. Last weekend, while at an event, I ran into one of my clients that lives on the other side of the country. Since we had only coached over the phone, she was not ready for the intensity that comes with working with me face to face. Later she commented that she felt like there was no place to hide, like I could see her in a way that no one else ever had. I let her know that I understood the way she felt, because many years ago in that little California café I had been in her shoes.

The reason that I am sharing this with you today is that today’s verse. Proverbs 17:22 says “a cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  When I read this verse, I realized that what my coaching really does, is provide my clients with a path to find their “cheerful” heart again. It is one of the most rewarding feelings to be a part of someone’s life when the light, once again, “turns on” within their soul.

So often I meet with people who somewhere in their life’s journey have had one or many things happen to them that “crushes” their spirit. Unfortunately, for some, they stay “stuck” there and begin to dry up like they are simply waiting to die. Reading this verse today reminded me of my own journey several years ago. I will forever be grateful to Tawny, a stranger, who used her God given talents to speak the truth to me when I most needed to hear it. For the record, I choose to live!

How about you? If you think it may be time for a little “truth” in your life, I’d be honored to be that person for you. And if you’re not sure what it’s all about but you know you are ready to put your fears and excuses aside to start living the life God created YOU for, I’d like to offer you a free, no holds barred, deep coaching session so that YOU can experience your own life changing moment.

If you are ready, Just click here and schedule your time.

Have a great day!

Kevin

PS- If you have a friend or family member that you feel needs to see this message, please feel free to share my offer with them.

Head VS. Heart

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Last night I was reading a post from a fellow blogger, Ihagh G. T.  . In his post he revisited on of my favorite stories in the Bible. Matthew 25:15-29 “The Parable of the Talents”, It reads:

The Parable of the Talents

14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Footnotes:

talent was a monetary unit worth about twenty years’ wages for a laborer

Though it is one of my favorite verses, every time I read it I would get scared. It scared me because quite often I feel like I am hiding my talents in the ground. Not intentionally, but mostly because as a “jack of all trades” I have had a hard time determining which talent it is that God wants me to focus on. I feel like the old saying, “jack of all trades, master of none”, was written hundreds of years ago specifically for me. For years I have repeated that saying over and over in my head and each time I did, I felt worse about myself. It has been a debilitating thorn in my self-worth and passion since the first time someone used that label on me. What should I do? Which skill should I master? Why can’t I focus? Why can’t I find my one thing like everybody else? God, what do you want me to do? I tried everything to figure out exactly what it is that I am supposed to do. Coaching, school, books, videos, workshops you name it and in my quest, I have only become more and more confused.

Today, I opened Proverbs 16 and although several verses spoke to me, it was verse 9, that really caught my attention.  “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”  When I read this verse I saw the word “hearts”. Maybe because it is Valentine’s Day or maybe because I went to sleep last night asking God and my new found friend, Ihagh G. T., for an answer, today the word “hearts” appeared to me as though I had never seen it before.

Immediately, I knew what I had long been missing and the answer was quite simple. Over the past decades, the search for my life’s purpose never made its way from my HEAD, to my HEART. In my head, I worried about how much money I could make, If I was capable ,if it was a good idea, what people would think about me and of course if the path I was considering was what God wanted me to do. Seldom did I consult my heart and if I did, I would quickly dismiss its calling in favor of all the noise in my head.

Speaking of my head, remember that old saying that I carried around and allowed to cripple me for years? (“a jack of all trades a master of none”) Well, it turns out that when I searched the origin of that saying this morning, I had it wrong. It turns out that while it is used today to describe someone who lacks focus, the original saying was actually a COMPLIMENT!!! When I read that, I just about fell out of my chair and smacked my head on my desk! The original saying actually read,  “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” The phrase means that a person is a generalist rather than a specialist, versatile and adept at many things. Perspective changes everything, with the new definition in mind, I am PROUD to be a “jack of all trades”. In fact, it is almost like all the specialists were jealous and decided to belittle us by changing the phrase to their liking!

As it turns out, now I realize that being a “jack of all trades” IS the talent God gave me, it is NOT a curse. The answer to what I have sought for so long will be found where my heart, not my head, intersects with talents. Once I fully engage my heart, as Proverbs 16:9 states, “the Lord WILL establish my steps”.

How about you, are you using your talents, while following your heart or are you listening to noise in your head?

Have a Great Day!

Kevin

 

Love Yourself?

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After taking a few days off writing as I traveled, I am back at it. It’s strange how difficult it can be to get back on track once we interrupt a pattern. Today I want to write about a topic that has been on my mind a lot the past few days. Since reading a friend’s post on Facebook about a book she was recommending, Love Yourself: Like Your Life Depends on it by Kamal Ravikant, the topic of “loving yourself” has been brought to my attention from several other close friends and clients. To be honest, the book was well written and the topic made complete sense, yet I find myself resisting the concept put forth in the book that loving yourself is as easy as telling yourself over and over that, “I love myself”.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day reserved for LOVE. Most often on this day, we focus on romantic love and love for those closest to us like close friends and family. But NEVER, not ONCE, in my 48 years, have I celebrated or even considered the concept of “loving myself” on this day.

There are experts all over the world that have written and taught us that in order to love someone else, we must love ourselves first. It sounds good, but what does it mean to “love yourself?” The second commandment states that “you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 Since God wants us to love your neighbor as yourself, doesn’t it make sense that we better figure out what “loving yourself” really means, and more importantly how to do it?

Think about it. How many people, including you, not only have one thing but a list of things that they don’t love about themselves? I’m too fat, I don’t like my smile, I hate my nose, I’m disgusted by my body, my laugh sounds stupid, I am too short, I am too tall, my hair is too curly, my hair is too straight, I am too smart, I am too dumb, you get the idea. If we truly despise ourselves this badly, we may be better off ignoring God’s advice to “love your neighbor as yourself”. In fact, maybe many of us are all too good at following God’s commandment and that is why the hate we feel for ourselves ends up being projected on to others in our daily life.

So then, what does it mean to “Love Yourself?” Is it as simple as looking in the mirror and saying “I love you” or as Kamal Ravikant suggests, repeating “I love myself” over and over in your mind until you believe it to be true? Since what works for one person, may not work for another, I don’t want to reject either of these tactics as a possible way to create self love. In fact, they may be an important piece of the puzzle but in my mind there has to be more.

The last couple days, while working with my coaching clients, we have discussed the importance of intention. It is my belief that the only way to achieve a desired RESULT is to first create an intention and then take action. If I apply the same thinking to “self love”, the first thing we need to do in order to love ourselves is to set the intention that we desire to “love our self”, in the first place. Setting the intention to “love our self” brings the desire to our attention. Once we do this, our conscious and subconscious minds look for ways that we can accomplish this goal. Then, when we see the opportunity to “prove it”, we must take ACTION!

For example… I LOVE cupcakes. They are soooooo good. The idea of a cupcake makes me smile. My favorite part about a cupcake is the layers and layers of frosting on top! MMMMmmmm (Did you know that when a person craves sweets, it is actually a really good indicator that they crave “love” or “sweetness” in their life?) The problem with cupcakes, or any sweets for that matter, is that they are not good for us. And while there is certainly nothing wrong with having “a” cupcake now and then, having a cupcake or a combination of many sweet foods on a daily basis, can certainly take its toll on your body and how you feel about yourself. Trust me, I know! With the intention of “loving myself” in mind, when the opportunity to partake in a delicious cupcake presents itself, saying “no thank you” would actually be an opportunity to show self love. The same could be said about how we allow others to treat us at home, at work or in a romantic relationship. Saying “no thank you” to an unacceptable behavior or action doesn’t only show self-respect but it builds self love. Each time you take action and “prove it”, you begin to love yourself a little bit more.

Proverbs 15:13 A Happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Let me ask you, what could make your heart happier than truly loving yourself through intended actions each and every day? Loving yourself means putting yourself first, not because you are selfish but because God wants us to love others as we love ourselves and if we don’t know how to properly love ourselves, we certainly won’t be loving each other as God intended for us to do.

Have a great day!

Kevin

 

PS- Happy Valentine’s Day!

Is There an OX in Your Stable?

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Today I am going to admit that many times when I read a verse that makes reference to a time and place that I can’t relate, I skim right past the verse’s intended meaning. Today was no different. As I was searching for today’s topic, I saw the word “oxen” and in my mind I said “blah, blah, blah this doesn’t apply” but then I stopped myself and realized that this pattern of behavior was no longer serving me. Therefore, today I am going to challenge myself to write about said oxen.

The verse I that I am referring to is Proverbs 14: Verse 4 – “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of oxen.”

 What’s fascinating, and somewhat controversial to non-believers, is that since the Bible was written, it has been translated into over 2000 different languages and there are more than 40 different versions written in English. The popular King James version was written in 1611, while more modern versions of the Bible include simplified English for people like me. In addition to all the translations, there are all the different interpretations by biblical scholars, preachers and individual. In some cases, a reader will use their own bias to interpret a verse in hopes that it will support a position or belief that they currently hold. The point I am attempting to make is that not every verse has a black and white meaning and the interpretation is not always precise. So as I attempt to uncover the meaning of Proverbs 14:4, please keep that in mind.

When I began to consider the meaning of this verse, to be honest I had NO idea, none. The second half of the verse made sense and so I focused in on that and decided the meaning was that strong, hard work will create an abundant harvest. (life, wealth, etc.) We are to work like the ox.  Still not satisfied with my thinking, I consulted Google. What an incredible tool, right? Anyway, Google quickly took me to the Christian Courier, a group created in 1965 whose main objective is to “help average Americans become more knowledgeable about God’s word”. Perfect! I’m average and they know my language, simplicity! After reading their explanation of the verse, I realized that I badly missed the mark! To illustrate this, I decided to share their interpretation in its entirety.  (good stuff)

“What is the meaning of Proverbs 14:4? It seems to be out of place in the Bible.”

Before we address the text of Proverbs 14:4, we need consider this important point. Contrary to the opinions of many, the Bible was intended to instruct us in all areas of life. We do not find the concept of compartmentalizing one’s life into secular and religious realms. God has provided the principles for righteous living in all things (1 Peter 1:3).

That important point noted, let us examine the passage at hand.

Proverbs is an interesting book on the surface, but it is not just another collection of ancient sayings. It is, rather, a collection of inspired truths in memorable and vivid forms.

Proverbs covers a wide range of topics. There are proverbs concerning wealth, wisdom, friends, family, work, and worldliness. For a helpful, comprehensive topical index of Proverbs, consult The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, volume five, or Derek Kidner’s commentary on Proverbs in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series.

Here is the text of Proverbs 14:4:

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of oxen.”

Have you ever heard someone say, “There are pros and cons to everything”? We make decisions by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of a thing.

When it comes to owning oxen, there are disadvantages. They eat a lot. They can be expensive and time-consuming to keep. If you don’t have any oxen, you can save a lot of time and expense. Consider having a “clean manger” [Note: The Hebrew term translated “manger” ’ebus means a “feeding-trough.” (The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon, p. 7.)].

On the other hand, oxen are the tools for an abundant harvest. Their cost and inconvenience does not compare with their productivity.

Solomon is not simply giving a lesson in agriculture.

Here are two principles:

 

  • get the right tools for the job you need to do, and
  • the cost of the right tool is worth it.

 

This is true for both material and spiritual work.

How many times has money been wasted by trying to “cut corners”? It is important to be wise in one’s work and financial matters

From <https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1175-what-is-the-meaning-of-proverbs-14-4>

Okay, so what I learned today is that reading the Bible is much less about reading than it is understanding AND Living. If I had just continued to skim past this verse, like I had done many times before, I would never have received its gift of wisdom. I also learned that if I’m are having a tough time understanding a particular verse, it may be wise for me to consult one of the many OTHER versions. For example, today when I first read verse 4 in the NIV version, it read: Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests. Yet when I consulted two other sources on the internet, they used the KJV of the Bible and the verse read “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of oxen.” Notice that even though the verses are similar, the second verse introduces us to more information to use in our interpretation. In the KJV version we also learn that the manger is clean, this simple addition really adds to the meaning and quite frankly, to the discrepancies among those doing the interpreting. (see extra credit below)

Having an ox in your stable is no different than having the right tool in your tool box. If you are a writer, you need a pen. If you are a carpenter you need a hammer. If you are a guitarist, you need a guitar (note to my musician friends. I said  “A” guitar, not numerous guitars 🙂 ).

So I’ll ask you. Do you have an ox in your stable? If not, why?

Have a great day!

Kevin

PS: extra credit, Read the post below for another expert interpretation of this same verse. If you are like me, you’ll find it interesting that their interpretation is a little bit different. See, it’s not black and white. That’s why it is important that when you embark on the path to “living” the Bible, you do your best to understand it first;)

Here it is…

In this fallen world, problems are present even when things are moving forward and productivity is increasing. That is the message of today’s passage. During biblical times, the ancient Israelites placed great value on oxen. The book of Leviticus indicates their importance to the sacrificial system, and passages such as Deuteronomy 25:4 tell us that these animals were a key part of agricultural production. The second half of Proverbs 14:4 confirms this. The strength of an ox brings many crops. More plowing and harvesting can be accomplished, increasing the yield of the field and the growth of a household’s wealth. However, this growth comes at a price. An ox must be fed and watered. It must be housed in a shed during storms. It leaves waste that must be cleaned up. In other words, for all the benefit that an ox provides, this animal brings with it much cost and mess.

So, as the first half of Proverbs 14:4 reveals, the only way to have a clean manger is to not have many oxen. And yet, if one ox can bring so much productivity, many oxen will bring even more. Essentially, this proverb reminds us that if we want to advance, if we want to grow our wealth or anything else, there will be some untidiness about it. It will require responsibility in taking care of all our possessions. Things may get messy at times. Somewhat paradoxically, a big mess can be desirable, not because it is in itself something to seek but because it may indicate the presence of healthy productivity.

From <https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/mess-productivity/>