“Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor…
Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
and he says to everyone that he is a fool.
If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place,
for calmness will lay great offenses to rest…
A fool multiplies words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him what will be after him?” Ecclesiastes 10:1,3-4,14
“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels.., for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful, self-condemned.” Titus 3:8-11
Foolishness is loud and usually makes much of itself, while wisdom keeps calm and quiet. Why is it we notice the annoying and obvious in others, and are prone to take easy offense and be put off, but are oblivious to the foolishness of our own behavior? Do we not know that it is senseless, and fruitless, to major on minor issues and give way to anger? Rather than stirring up dissension and controversy by escalated emotion and multiplied words, we could make a constructive difference by putting a stop to all that is not good, profitable, or worthwhile.
For the benefit of everyone we encounter, there is much we could stand to put to rest. Perhaps we are touchy, or critical. Maybe we keep a loose hold on our tongue, or find jealousy, selfishness, or resentment poking holes in pure love for others. We may try to cover folly with external polish, but fail to uproot mistaken assumptions and sinful bents. In order to rid, we must name and repent. True calmness sets in, and rest comes, when righteousness reigns, and that only occurs within Christ’s redemption.
Do we desire relationships and atmosphere that promote peace? How careful are we to stir up one another to love and good deeds rather than to division? What am I doing, or intentionally not doing, to be a Spirit-filled agent of calm and healing, of putting offenses to rest… forever? Need I forgive? Need I be silent, and commit to never stoking hurtful, sarcastic, destructive flames? Need I return curses with blessing, and so smother sparks? (Romans 12:16-21: Ephesians 4:29-32; Hebrews 10:24-25)
“Jesus, I am resting, resting
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee,
as thy beauty fills my soul,
for by thy transforming power,
thou hast made me whole.
Ever lift thy face upon me
as I work and wait for thee;
resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus,
earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
sunshine of my Father’s face,
keep me ever trusting, resting,
fill me with thy grace.” ~Jean Sophia Pigott (1876)
Lord, help me put to rest whatever my flesh would entertain apart from You, so I can know Your true rest, and spread it with joy to those around me.