Worth It Or Not
"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he". (Proverbs 23:7) NKJV
This comes in a section of scripture in the OT that is warning us about being enticed by the world and how we should use restraint. We are told to be careful, because there are people who are deceptive. In addition to that, this section of scripture tells us to be careful not to set our eyes "on things that are not". We should not set out with a huge plan to get rich, because riches can disappear as fast as they come. Then comes the verse we quoted above.
So among the many ideas of what all this verse means are some thoughts, that even if this verse doesn't mean that at all, are good for us to consider.
We should be cautious of thinking too highly of ourselves, we have other scriptures that also warn against that, but this verse isn't really leaning toward that thought. Some believe this is telling us that we should be careful around others, especially if we know their character to be less than honorable, because they can and will tell us what they want us to hear, but their words are empty of any concern. In other words, if they are an empty shell, then they are an empty shell, because they know their own character.
Still others suggest this means that there are always those people in our world who want to be seen in one light by other people and offer in word all sorts of things, but in their hearts they are more concerned about what it is costing them or they have another ulterior motive. While there are countless other opinions on this verse, probably this is closer to the real meaning. The NASB Bible translates it this way, "Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, Or desire his delicacies; For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, And waste your compliments." (23:6-8)
How often in life do we chase after the things of this world, only to find that what is being offered was not exactly what we were after? Have we ever pursued something in life so hard, a job maybe, only to find that it was nothing we desired? How often have we met people that enticed us with their words, but their actions were nowhere to be found? How often have we met people full of themselves, and been deceived at least for a while, before we realized what they really were? Have we ever met someone, and were initially impressed with them so much and wanted to make them our new best friend, only to have our eyes opened at some point to reveal their true character, and it wasn't what we saw in them initially? Maybe we have even been that person!
It takes a lot of self discipline to keep from being full of all the right words but unable to live them, and even with our best efforts, we aren't perfect. It takes a lot of commitment and energy to do what we are instructed to do by our Creator, without wasting precious time and energy chasing after those things or those people that are empty in the final analysis. God gives us the ability to discern, (observe, identify, differentiate) people and situations, ideas and causes, teachings and beliefs, and activities and entertainment that are helpful to our Christian walk from those that are not. Yet we often times look up and see that we are devoting time, energy, money and possibly many other things toward something that is not beneficial to us at all. How much TV do we watch? What are we watching?
Investing our time in someone for their betterment and the saving of their soul is never wasted time, nor is anything that grows us as Christians, yet we can all identify other situations in life that may fail the test. Today, whether it's a friend, a job, a hobby, a sport, a computer video game, our choice in movies and entertainment, or whatever we spend time and energy in pursuing, let us pause occasionally and evaluate whether or not we should be spending time and exerting our efforts on these things. Let us be cautious as we move through life so that we don't wind up in the end, "vomit[ing] up the morsel we have eaten, and wast[ing] our compliments" on people or things that we would be better off saying 'no' to in the first place!