Today’s reading: Proverbs 11-20, Psalm 72
In our second day of reading the Proverbs, we find a pattern used repeatedly, contrasting wise behavior with foolishness. Implicit in these verses is the act of making choices. The author of Proverbs clearly does not believe that life simply happens to us. We are active participants in determining the course of our lives through the choices we make. This is a fundamental tenet of Wesleyan theology–that we are given free will as a part of God’s good gift of life to us, and in that freedom we can choose for good or for bad.
The Proverbs acknowledge that sometimes there is immediate gain for those who make the foolish choice, but it is the wise choice that leaves a lasting legacy. What fools enjoy is only temporary, while the reward for those who travel the path of wisdom is an enduring blessing that cannot be quantified in merely material terms. Repeatedly, we hear that poverty and wisdom are a much-preferred partnership over wealth and foolishness.
Not surprisingly, these Proverbs also laud integrity as an important character trait in shaping our decisions. Honesty and a high regard for ethics may not always make the quick buck, but will allow us to live without shame. Such characteristics also become a way for us to live out the faith we claim. And after all, we hear over and over today that God cares about the choices we make and how they impact our lives and the lives of others.