For forty-five years after his career as a professional athlete ended, Jerry Kramer wasn’t inducted into his sport’s hall of fame (the highest recognition). He enjoyed many other honors and achievements, but this one eluded him. Although he’d been nominated for the honor ten times, it had never been bestowed. Despite having his hopes dashed so many times, Kramer was gracious, saying, “I felt like [the National Football League] had given me 100 presents in my lifetime and to be upset or angry about one I didn’t get was kind of stupid!”
Where others might have grown bitter after being denied so many times in favor of other players, Kramer wasn’t. His attitude illustrates the way we can safeguard our hearts against the corrosive nature of envy, which “rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). When we become preoccupied with what we don’t have—and fail to recognize the many things we do—the peace of God will elude us.
After an eleventh nomination, Jerry Kramer ultimately was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in February 2018. Our earthly desires may not be fulfilled as his finally were. Yet we can all have a “heart at peace” when we instead focus our attention on the many ways God has been generous toward us. No matter what we want but do not have, we can always enjoy the life-giving peace He brings to our lives.
In what area of life are you tempted to focus on what you don’t have? What steps can you take this week to focus on what God has provided?
When considering the Wisdom Books of the Bible, an understanding of Hebrew poetry is helpful. This form of poetry was built on literary devices such as metaphors, similes, acrostics, and alliteration. Among the more complex devices found in the Proverbs are parallelisms, where the basic idea of the first half of the proverb is repeated in the second half.
Antithetical parallelism is found in six of the seven proverbs in today’s reading (vv. 29,30,31,32,34,35). In this form, an idea is presented in two different ways that are opposite to each other, using the conjunction but to show contrast. Synonymous parallelism is found in the other proverb (v. 33). Here an idea is presented by repeating it with different words and using the conjunction and to show comparison.
For more on the book of Proverbs, read Knowing God Through Proverbs at discoveryseries.org/sb130.