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MAN OF MEANS BY NO MEANS

After 30 years of mechanical design work I was told that I was “unemployable”.  Since I had a few weeks out of work I supposedly had forgotten all I learned in those years.  This is just a ploy to say that I was too old because I still use the same software six years later.  Fortunately I was able to go live with my father.  As it turned out he also needed help and I shared his last three years.  I walked the trails in Arizona and saw others who were less fortunate living in the desert.  God had a hand in delivering me, and he can help those who hear his wisdom.  Consider the road of wisdom that leads us away from poverty.

Proverbs 13:1-8

1 A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

This is reasonable that a father wants to protect you and guide you to safety.  Wisdom will teach you to hear his instruction.  Still there are many who reject any correction or even suggestions.  A rebuke is harsh but is an attempt to jar you into understanding your danger.  We live in a generation of scorners.  My father corrected me a few times but he was also there when I needed help.  I was never homeless.

2 A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

Wise speech produces prosperity and friendships.  Those who are insulting and rude will  take a beating.  I wonder if this will manifest against certain candidates for office this year.  In some cases a good cause may inherit a bad leader and lose good workers to a lesser cause.  Or a bad leader may awaken some to hear their conscience and respond to a better cause.

3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

There is a real danger of violence and death with the right provocative words.  But life is also just keeping your job, or not being found in contempt of court.  How does it help you to insult a police officer or a judge if you are already under investigation?  Even if you are right, you risk punishment because the world still contains evil men in power.

4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Well if you don’t want anything you will be easy to please, but you may have nothing to enjoy.  Food and shelter are good, as are family and friends.  Careful planning and work comfort the body and the heart with satisfaction.  Some use diligence as an excuse not to help people in need, but generosity is encouragement for the needy, and diligence is not an excuse to be stingy.  There are people who want to work and are still denied the opportunity to recover.  They do need help, and should have it in a wealthy developed nation.  This is especially true when big corporations escape taxes on huge profits.

5 A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

We have a lot of righteous people and they are offended by liars.  With so much information in our age there are many accusations and it takes time to prove the real crimes.  Gradually people hear enough to be offended and take action.  Those who are caught in their own lies are an embarrassment to their supporters and an outrage to their opponents.  Eventually their friends and foes both reject them.  Their time is limited.  Even those who live in our time…

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/265171/donald-trump-and-eminent-domain-robert-verbruggen

https://www.laprogressive.com/corporation-greed-controls-both-parties/

6 Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

This is comforting that God offers us wisdom in righteousness and we have safety in this.  There is no safety in evil works and they accumulate evidence that waits for judgment.  And they will be overthrown.  The worst criminals may be within our own justice system though.  Law enforcement officers may become overly violent, or plant evidence but it doesn’t end there.  We may have criminals in prison, but when we are criminal to them we earn spiritual poverty.  A corrupt legal system hardens the prisoners who we might have helped.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/21/11756575-researchers-more-than-2000-false-convictions-in-past-23-years?lite

http://www.thenation.com/article/why-americans-dont-care-about-prison-rape/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/25/us/new-york-prison-break-contraband-smuggle/

7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

How many lottery winners, movie stars, and athletes have spent themselves into poverty?  But I had a skilled trade and industry threw a lot of us away.  They have ways to skirt the laws about hiring seniors.  But even if you keep it all, the fear of losing it can reduce you to misery.  And if you hide guilt for having gotten materials by evil, you will always be looking for judgment, which will find you.

When we recognize the value of being a faithful Christian and friend to our neighbors we have a new kind of treasure; in heaven.  While our possessions on earth may be few, we can have a treasury of memories when we serve others.

Or, to skip ahead a few chapters in Proverbs:

Proverbs 15:16

Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.

http://listverse.com/2015/11/30/10-wealthy-heirs-whose-lucky-lives-disintegrated-into-tragedy/

8 The ransom of a man’s life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.

If a rich man is kidnapped he can be rescued by his wealth.  In other crises he may find that all of his wealth is threatened by taxes, enemies, thieves, sickness, and other disasters.  It may all be reduced to ruin and heartbreak by circumstances.  Poor people have nothing to grieve over losing and they draw few enemies.  I never reached poverty but I got a good look at it when I lost my job.

As a contract worker it was not unusual to expect years of work and end up with a few months.  I got caught on a twelve month lease with six months left over when my job ended.  So I stayed in Indiana for six months sending job applications and using up my unemployment benefits.  I had just enough left to rent a U-Haul trailer and drive to Arizona to live with my father.

After a while recruiters informed me that I was “unemployable” because my computer skills had languished for a few months.  Six years later I am still using the same CAD software, and learned another one.  The industry has found a new way to skirt the laws against not hiring seniors.  We find our enemies before we achieve poverty, and they are the ones who push us there.  Should we be friends to corrupt industries?  Are they friends to us?

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