My thoughts (David Zier):
As I read today’s passage, I got stuck on verse 15:
Laziness brings on deep sleep; an idle person will suffer hunger.
We can read this verse simply, on the surface. If you do nothing in life, you will starve! If you make no living, how will you get food? Or as in ancient times, if you do nothing, where will you get your crops and other food that requires tending and searching?
Reading this passage brought to my mind St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis was the son of a wealthy merchant who lived the wealthy life. He was known as a “party animal” in his youthful days. Francis wanted more than wealth; he wanted to be noble, like a knight. He went to war thinking he would achieve the glory he thought he wanted. But it was when he went to war that he lost his appetite for his wealthy life.
He had a dream, where God told him he had it all wrong. He took in Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler, “If you want to be perfect, go sell all your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and come follow me.” This, however, did not happen overnight. Francis spent more time in prayer, going to a cave and weeping for his sins. It was as if God’s grace overwhelmed him with joy. His search for Christ, discipleship, and conversion led him to the church at San Damiano. While he was praying there, he heard Jesus speak to him to repair the church.
Francis did not try to abolish poverty; his purpose was to make it holy. When he met someone poorer than he, he would give his shirt off his back. His Order, the Friars, worked only for necessities and only begged if they had to. Francis would not accept money. He told the Friars to treat coins as if they were rocks and pebbles in the dirt. What could you do to a person who owns nothing? Francis would say, “You can’t starve a fasting person, you can’t steal from someone who has no money, you can’t ruin someone who hates prestige. We are truly free.” Francis was a person of action and simplicity.
So now what do you think of Proverbs 19:15? Francis was not idle. He fasted, many times up to forty days. But his hunger was not the physical hunger; his hunger was for God. Most people are not St. Francis. I am not St. Francis. But how is it that we pursue God? How is it that we pursue how God wants us to live? How God wants us to love?
Thought for the day: Are you idle in how you are growing and building your relationship with God? So, how hungry are you?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.