27 Eating too much honey isn’t good,
nor is it appropriate to seek honor.
28 A person without self-control
is like a breached city, one with no walls.
Quick, think of your favorite food. What is it? One of my favorites is mint chocolate chip ice cream. Who doesn’t enjoy eating ice cream? (My “Healthy Living” friends also know that those little black jelly beans also do it for me.) It is the sugar that calls to me: “Barb, come and eat this!” Okay, so if you don’t like ice cream or black jelly beans, substitute your favorite dessert. I could eat ice cream every day, but then there is a point when my self-control has to step in. I love ice cream, but I don’t want to swim in a vat of it or become a vat of it.
It reminds me of Lucille Ball in that episode with the chocolate factory and a fast moving conveyor belt. She and Ethel cannot deal with so much chocolate. Too much of a good thing is still too much. (For a good laugh, watch this video.)
It is like the “too much honey” the writer of Proverbs speaks about so succinctly.
As the writer of Proverbs knows, when we can’t learn to pace ourselves through moderation, then we have a real problem.
I’ve had to learn about moderation the hard way, and that goes for my (former) work life, too. For a very long time, I loved my career as a school counselor, until I didn’t. In fact, when people asked me about what my job was like, I often likened it to ice cream. Can you believe that I used to describe my job as being like eating ice cream? It was a treat, and a real blessing to listen and talk to children of all ages and stages. I found supporting people to be an incredible calling. Yet, there were days that I must have resembled Lucille Ball, stuffing those chocolates aside on the assembly line. Literally, when all else failed, I ate chocolate.
The career I loved was a treat to me until that day that God called me into something else. However, I’ve needed to learn to listen to God about my own needs and especially about being moderate. This is not to say that God doesn’t call us to hard stuff. Only that too much of something you love –especially something that is intended to be for good– is a problem when it overwhelms us. Being called to do great works in God’s name is a good thing, except when it has become something that is not honorable to the temple that is our bodies and to our God. As the Proverb says, when we are not using self-control, we are like a “breached city, one with no walls.” I had to learn to believe in listening to my body as part of God’s call on my life.
By Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Most of us can’t eat ice cream every day. Perhaps we all have our “ice cream,” or something that is very hard to say “No” to. Who or what challenges your ability to seek moderation? How do you seek self-control over those things or people that become overwhelming?
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for the blessings that you provide. Thank you for helping us to learn the limits of our bodies and minds. When you call us to be your hands and feet in the world, help us to know how to love ourselves and to listen to our own needs, so that we may go on to support others needs in the healthiest way possible. Amen.