Posted 17 Feb 2011
Proverbs 27:12 (NLT)
A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
On his proverb, The Bible Knowledge Commentary has this to say:
‘The simple refers to a person who is naive and untaught. He is not an imbecile, one who cannot comprehend, or a fool who despises wisdom. Instead, he is one whose exposure to life and wisdom has been limited. Because of inexperience he is gullible and easily influenced. Therefore he needs prudence, that is, cleverness or sensibleness.
“The simple” and the young need wisdom: “prudence,” knowledge, and discretion (“wise planning”, “discernment”).
Also the experienced (the wise, and the discerning) are reminded of their need to grow in wisdom (in learning and guidance). “Guidance”, literally, “steerings” (like the tackle for directing a ship), suggests moving one’s life in the right direction.’
I was reflecting on this Proverb today (16/02/2011) & wondering about my own future. My question was: is God telling me that there may be dangers ahead, in my life? What dangers do I see, or am aware of?
One of my biggest concerns is in regard to my artistic development. Being an artist is not merely what I do, the creative urge in me is one of the biggest, most powerful motivating forces I have ever encountered. It is almost an irresistible force within me. I have long held the view that I want to travel as far & as fast as possible, in pursuit of my artistic goals. When I do not draw, design, colour or otherwise use my God-given creativity for a while I literally loose my sense of well-being.
That is not to say that my identity comes from my creativity; from me being an artist. My identity comes first & foremost from Jesus Christ: my relationship with God. However, for me, the greatest, most life-affirming expression of my identity (in Jesus), is through creativity, & artistic expression. The creativity God has gifted me with fuels my life & lifts me above sadness, depression & doubt, to a place of hope, comfort, contentment & security. Art is my “happy place”!
I am in an astonishingly blessed position in life. I am financially supported by my wife, as I seek to grow the business of the Bible Cartoons Project (BCP.) Without my wife, it would be impossible for me to do what I am doing, since currently BCP does not make enough money (through cartoon illustration & merchandise sales) to support us.
My prayer to God is a request to allow us to move the BCP along, as a business, to get it to the point where it consistently provides enough financial “success” to support itself. After that, & as it grows, I pray that it will provide sufficient income to ensure it’s own future, by ensuring ours!
I recognise that I have a BIG part to play in the success of BCP. Success requires human effort – specifically, my human effort! Whilst all blessings do indeed come directly from God, they do not come to those who are not moving, or working. BCP’s success will be achieved through God blessing my shear hard work, effort & determination… there are no free-lunches with God!
At the moment then, I am a little concerned about my apparent reliance on my wife’s work, to financially keep & sustain us. Perhaps my uneasiness in this situation is merely my male ego asserting itself… we are meant to be hunter-gatherers, after all! [I don’t really believe that… I’m having a “pop” at the mad theory of evolution there!!!] I hope my fear is not merely a male ego trip! But one of my understandable fears about the future is about our financial security… i.e. keeping it, so that I can continue to do what I am doing. In reference to Proverbs 27:12 (which is where this all started) I do wonder what will happen in our future, if my wife’s job & therefore the financial support for me & the BCP that comes from it, was to come to an end.
If BCP gains financial success, to the point where we can make a decent living out of it, then my financial dependency on my wife’s job would come to an end. I wonder if that is on God’s “radar”… I hope so! I pray so.
My wife does not see me & the BCP as a burden – which is itself a great blessing! She is very happy to support me, & is as committed to the success of BCP as I am. She also loves her own (teaching) job & is committed to her pupils. She has the same sense of being exactly where God wants her to be that I enjoy where I am, as an artist in BCP. So we really are both blessed… praise the Lord!
I have the skills to draw the cartoons, the time, the opportunities, the home, the equipment, etc to do all that is needed to grow BCP. At the moment, the financial shortfalls of BCP (costs higher than income) & therefore my financial dependency on my wife’s work is the only “threat” to BCP that I can see. So (in reference to Proverbs 27:12) I wonder if the “dangers ahead” might refer to my need to do something else, additional to that which I am currently doing, to ensure that I “takes precautions” & that I don’t become “the simpleton who goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” !
Remember what The Bible Knowledge Commentary said about the simpleton…
‘The simple refers to a person who is naive and untaught. He is not an imbecile, one who cannot comprehend, or a fool who despises wisdom. Instead, he is one whose exposure to life and wisdom has been limited. Because of inexperience he is gullible and easily influenced. Therefore he needs prudence, that is, cleverness or sensibleness.’
With regard to commerce & business, I do feel naive & untaught… a bit of a simpleton! I can see that I do need prudence, cleverness & sensibleness, in order to make the business (finance, sales, marketing, promotion, etc) aspects of BCP succeed. That is why we took the decision to ask a Christian lady from a Marketing company to join forces with us. She will hopefully compensate for my lack of business, marketing skills & help us to achieve the financial success we seek from the BCP.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary also said that, ‘the experienced (the wise, and the discerning) are reminded of their need to grow in wisdom (in learning and guidance). “Guidance”, literally, “steerings” (like the tackle for directing a ship), suggests moving one’s life in the right direction.’
If I am to be wise, then I need to grow in learning and get some guidance… which is why we have the Christian Marketing lady onboard, & also accounts for why I am reading “the Dummies guide to Marketing”!
It is also interesting to note that a ship has to be moving in order for the captain to be able to steer it with the rudder. If I am not moving BCP along in any given direction, then it will be similarly un-steerable. Clearly, activity is called for & I am right to work as hard as I can!
Considering the future… no regrets
When I consider the future, I am very aware that I do not want to look back upon today with any regrets. When I do not spend my time wisely, I start to have regrets. Sometimes, when I have watched TV or otherwise engaged in meaningless activity, I regret the time I have “wasted.” Generally, I think of activities that do not directly increase my drawing, creative, design, or business skills as being a waste of time. You could argue that some activities (like involvement at church!) help to create character & are therefore significant… no argument from me there! Our character is the only thing we get to take into the afterlife, after all.
You could argue that watching TV is OK, since I am relaxing – & I would agree that sometimes it is necessary for me to “recharge my batteries” by going for a walk, sitting & relaxing, watching TV, film, reading, going on holiday, etc. But often I am “future-Martin” focused, in that I do not want to look back on today, & see that I have wasted any of my time, on frivolous activity, when I could have spent my time more wisely, in artistic & creative pursuits. This “future-focus” keeps me determined & active: it provides me with drive & determination to work, which is also a gift from God.
Here are my conclusions in regard to all of this:
1) I love my wife… she is fantastic in so many ways & amazingly supportive!
2) Jesus, my Lord is amazing! I am so blessed that He has seen fit to choose us to be Christians (& therefore have eternal life) & the fact that He has, in his wisdom, seen fit to give me creativity & artistic skills & opportunity to use them is this life is brilliant!
Here are my 2 conclusions in regard to regret & how to avoid it…
1) Today’s determination & vision, to move forward towards my artistic & creative goals, as far & as fast as I possibly can, is my best defence against any future regrets.
2) My future confidence, assurance & peace of mind (in terms of artistic & creative progress) is determined by today’s actions.
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