To Devour or to Nurture

Series: Proverbs

by D. Marion Clark January 17, 2014 Scripture: Proverbs 21:20

Proverbs 21:20

Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling,
but a foolish man devours it.

The wise person saves and exercises restraint. For that reason he accumulates an abundance. The fool consumes whatever he gets.

Compare this proverb with verse 17: "Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich." The seeming paradox is that the lover of riches and pleasure will be poor, while the wise person who understands restraint and proper value of fleeting pleasure will have more than he needs.

The consumer devours what he obtains. His motto is to enjoy the day at hand, to take now whatever is given. But he does not understand that he is not obtaining the full pleasure he desires. Restraint is not putting off pleasure to protect against an unknown future. Restraint is training the body and the mind to enjoy more fully an experience or object. Which wine lover truly enjoys the pleasure of wine - the drunkard or the one who lingers over one glass? Who really knows the pleasure of sexual intimacy - the person who goes from partner to partner seeking only a sensation or the person who has saved his or her body for a loving, lasting relationship with a spouse?

Wisdom is not about putting off pleasure. It is about nurturing pleasure, building it up to be a lasting experience. What is of real value is worth nurturing.