Tuesday, August 14, 2012


"This world is full of compound words, speak slower bro or you won't be heard.  If you talk quick you might sound slick, but I might just think you asked me to make you a real jellyfish sandwich, AND YOU'LL DIE!!!" - Julian Smith on the subtleties of the English language and the dangers of eating a jellyfish (check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iubJ-XSL9go.)

There is a very tenuous thread of thought that I am trying to find between my morning devotions, which were only about 5 minutes ago, and the quote above.  Hmm...

Oh yeah, I was reading in Proverbs when I noticed that "the teacher" doesn't mince words in the battle of righteousness vs. wickedness.  He contrast's the two like Julian Smith contrasts two words and a compound word.  Julian Smith proposes (in the Youtube music video cited above) that you might want a "jelly fish" sandwich (hey we all have our tastes), but if you make the mistake of asking for a "jellyfish" sandwich, "YOU WILL DIE!"  

Let's look at vs 19 of Proverbs 12:  "Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die."   Come on, that's sort of like Julian Smith's analogy isn't it?  At least give me my thread of thought back.

I am thankful that the teacher of Proverbs paints the ends of righteousness and wickedness in black the black and white terms of life or death.   He's aware of greys (in fact that's what the whole book is about in seeking wisdom) for he warns of all types of wickedness and lifts up and encourages all sorts of righteousness, but he always seems to keep eye on where they lead - life or death.

I typically stroll through my day not thinking in such stark terms.  If I waste a little time here or there at work, do I realize I am meandering down a path that leads to death?  Not really.  And is this even true for the Christian?  Don't we live in the dispensation of grace, and aren't we not supposed to get all caught up in dos and don'ts.  Yes and no.

While I do think we are under grace, phew, I think it is really important that we think about the small steps we make in life.  I would call them "steps of grace" or steps of death.  Could 3 cups of coffee have me falling asleep when I get home from work, meaning less time with the kids, developing a habit of non-engagement and ultimately leading to experiencing a little death in my family?  Yes.

It's sobering, good habits and right living are often a accumulation of small consistent Spirit-led decisions and bad habits and wickedness are just the same, just insert Self for Spirit.  I think that the roads to righteousness and wickedness are not always worlds apart like we think of them, but simply small steps in the right or the wrong direction.

May God help us in the small steps, and keep us aware of the dangers of compound words.   There's my thread for the day.  And remember, don't ask for a "jellyfish" sandwich, it's a "jelly fish" sandwich.