As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so is a sluggard to those who send him.
This is from Proverbs 10:26. I was reading the Bible this morning and it stuck out to me. Let me share with you some of what it says to me.
"Teeth" - in the ancient Near East it can be assumed that there was no modern dental hygiene or medicine and thus many adults had broken teeth - ouch all the time. So when the original reader read this they knew exactly the pain that was being described! So do I! When I played football I broke my front tooth after a hard hit - whenever the air hit that nerve it was horrible! I was ready to see that dentist!
"Eyes" - on a mission trip to the Philippines a couple of years ago we had a one day medical clinic for some of our medical people to use their skills as nurses and doctors .... Two ladies (with no medical skill whatsoever) were given the task to check people's eyesight by looking at the chart, first with one eye then the other and so on. On that trip we had brought no glasses with us. (We remedied that on the next trip but I digress.) It was very clear that the folks that took this eye test had terrible sight, even to our unskilled ladies. Upon returning to the states and talking to a eye doctor friend of mine, it was mentioned that many people cook over an open fire and or use an open fire for heat. The smoke in your eyes over a long period of time doesn't only sting but it has a lasting effect!So bad teeth that hurt and eyes that are stinging are terrible, right?
Yes, it is terrible. This terrible pain and discomfort is like a messenger that is not reliable according to our passage.
From the notes in the "Spirit of the Reformation" Bible: "Royal messengers in the ancient Near East held very high, even courtly, social status. Often they were entrusted with a high degree of authority that transcended mere transmission of instructions. The information gathered and communicated by the messenger was diligently sought out and communicated to assure its accuracy and therefore the expeditious and successful conclusion of a matter. If the messenger turned out to be a sluggard (lazy person), the effect would have been unexpectedly bitter."
This got me thinking about my role as an evangelist, new church planter, an ambassador of the gospel of Christ. I will soon (hopefully after the school year is over) ], be moving to Charlotte. Commissioned by the Presbytery of Central Carolina .... But so are you commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ. The MESSAGE paraphrase puts it this way: "Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."
May I/we not bring pain to those who need the message God has given us. May we bring healing, peace, freedom and a SMILE! And may we not be a sluggard with this commission!