PTC_Proverbs 3 - "The time to do good is NOW"

4/24/13 - PTC_Proverbs 3 - "The time to do good is NOW"
Instruction on Proverbs PTs:
I am excited to jump into the Priority Time Challenge with Chris for the next eight weeks. This would be a great opportunity to start the Priority Time Challenge; all the details are here. I'll be taking us through the book of Proverbs. I LOVE the Proverbs and have made reading Proverbs a regular part of my daily "diet" of God's word for nearly 15 years. 

Here's how we will go about it. Take the time to READ the entire chapter for the day straight through. Don't read too fast, the Proverbs are like miniature sermons. One or two sentences really pack a punch. So, read slowly and look for the one or two verses that really stand out to you today. You might select a passage that addresses a challenge you are facing, a need in your life or a growth area. I will share the passage that stands out to me each day and take you through the steps of a Priority Time. I will not post the entire chapter, just the passage that stands out to me. I encourage you to write in your journal, verbatim the passage that stands out to you each day as you log your progress through the steps of a Priority Time.

A Priority Time is a daily unhurried time to read the Word of God to know the God of the Word. Each day we will read a passage of scripture and highpoint a few verses for the purpose of Focused Thinking, Personal Application, Interactive Prayer, and Life Journaling. 
  • Focused Thinking: Ask the journalistic questions (5 W's and How).
  • Personal Application: It turns information into transformation.
  • Interactive Prayer: It is personal, private, and precise.
  • Life Journaling: It is the process of recording thoughts, evaluating my experiences, and capturing my memories. 

Proverbs 3:27-28
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
    “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
    when you already have it with you.

Focused Thinking:
Who? Me. I am the audience here. Wisdom is speaking and I am to listen. The other party mentioned here is my neighbor. The qualifier is "to whom it is due." This means someone has to decide who is deserving of good. This is where I need God's mind. When I evaluate Scripture, the clear understanding of "to whom it is due" is simply defined by those in need. Too often, I create my own definition of whether someone is "due" or not. God, help me see things from Your perspective. What if I stretched the application of this further? What if I also consider my own kids? OUCH. Sometimes I am too distracted around my kids. I'm too consumed with "my life" that I forget the closest "neighbors" to me need me.

What? The call from wisdom is to not withhold good when it is due and not to reject my neighbor in their time of need when I'm capable of acting now. The dilemma we all face is the desire to take care of self instead of others. It's hard to imagine the world where this becomes the norm. Because it's so rare, it's easy to see why we feel hesitant to do it. We all feel pulled to keep up with the Joneses in one way or another. Slowing down to help someone make it hard to keep up with the selfish world around us. It's more costly to help others.

When? Today. I love the way this Proverb focuses on the NOW. God cares very much about the here and now. I need to be mindful of what God wants to do in the current moment. This reminds me of the HP worship service when we did a spontaneous baptism. The man being baptized came to me. He was outside of the process but he wanted to do a good thing. So, we acted. The result was a powerful in-the-moment baptism that blessed many and represented this man's obedience to Christ. We need to give more focus on the now.

Where? The implication of this text is that we are to be prepared to act anywhere we see need.
Why? This may sound trite, but we act because we can…because God has blessed us. Because we can see the need through the lens of our spiritual gifts, talents and resources.

Personal Application:
There are so many times in an average day where I am faced with an opportunity to do good in an unexpected moment. Sometimes I respond and do good other times I let the moment pass. Why do I not always act? 

Interactive prayer:
God, help me be mindful of opportunities to do good. Give me patience. Most of the time I feel like these opportunities to help my neighbor are interruptions instead of opportunities to display Christ. This truth is super-convicting regarding my kids. There are countless times when it is my opportunity to do good. God, forgive me of being too connected to my phone/social media that my kids have to interrupt me staring at my phone to talk to me. God, give me stronger conviction on when I should and should not be doing work. Likewise, help me know how to be "all in" wherever I am. I need to be fully engaged in each moment of the day. We live in a world that does not support being "all there" everything we do is shared. That is NOT how you designed us to live. God teach me how to have sacred moments. Even writing this Priority Time I'm feeling the pull of distraction because my email is one click away. How can I see the needs of my neighbor if I cannot even focus on You?

Life Journaling:
I need to get back to some of the disciplines I developed through my sabbatical. I need to define the place technology has in my life. The threat of social media on my family and my ability to pay attention to the Spirit's leading is clear. Everything has its ordered place. I need to get the order back on my technology. I need to be willing giver of good. I need to use the strengths God has given me to give good to those who are due. This is not just the poor and needy. Lots of people can be due good. I can promote others. I can pray for other's success. I can loan my voice to others' causes. I need to practice this as much for my humility as for someone else's good. God help me.

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Posted by Andy Savage at 8:10 PM
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