Chasing Fantasies

Bible Reading:
Wealth and poverty Proverbs 3:9-10; 10:15; 11:4,28; 13:8; 14:20; 15:16; 17:16; 18:11,23; 19:4,6-7; 22:2,7; 23:4-5; 27:7; 28:6,8,11,20-22
Benevolence and generosity Pr. 3:27-28; 11:24-26; 13:22; 14:21; 18:16; 19:17; 21:13; 22:9; 25:14; 28:27
Oppression of the poor Pr. 13:23; 14:31; 15:15; 16:8; 22:16,22-23; 29:7,13
Industriousness Pr. 6:6-11; 10:4-5,26; 12:11,24,27; 13:4; 14:4,23; 15:19; 16:26; 18:9; 19:15,24; 20:4,13; 21:17,25-26; 22:29; 24:27,30-34; 26:14; 27:18,23-27; 28:19
Conservation, Surety for another Pr. 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 21:20; 22:26-27

"He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment" (12:11).

"He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty" (28:19).

Early in our marriage, we were lured by some of the "get-rich-quick" schemes we encountered. While the easy life they painted was appealing, the road to get there, if it even existed, was never as easy as they claimed. We would have to build our financial security slowly and carefully, through a lifetime of hard work and self-sacrifice.

We found that our marriage had to be built the same way. Enduring love doesn't just happen; it must be nurtured through the years. It doesn't grow from wishes, demands or expectations. When our relationship was neglected, it became like "the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins" (24:30-31). If the grass looked greener on the other side, it was because we weren't watering our own love so it could grow and thrive.

Like get-rich-quick schemes, fantasies of the almost-perfect life with the almost-perfect mate will crumble and fall like sand-castles on the beach. Whether running after financial riches or blissful happiness, "he who chases fantasies lacks judgment" and "will have his fill of poverty" (12:11; 28:19). If we try to fill up our needs for security and love with anything other than God, our "broken cisterns" will perpetually run dry (Jer. 2:13).

Unlike a flimsy castle in the sand, a marriage that is carefully constructed upon a secure footing in Jesus Christ will withstand the storms of life (Mt. 7:24-29). Even if the walls have crumbled and the vineyard has been trampled, any home can be repaired and re-built into a place of worth and beauty. Where weeds and thorns once covered the ground, our love for each other can grow strong when rooted in the rich soil of God's unfailing love.

As God satiates the empty, loveless places in our soul, we are freed from the need to manipulate love from others and are energized to love them the way God loves us. Living securely as God's beloved children, we start planting seeds of tenderness and patience where anger and bitterness used to fall. God even supplies the seed, along with every tool we need! With his hands wrapped around ours, he patiently digs up the weeds of sin and the thorns of pain, pulling them out by their roots of origin so that they will no longer choke out the good seed. By cultivating the vineyard God gave us with the wisdom and tools he supplies, our love will yield "abundant food" in due season. The reality is far sweeter than the fantasy!