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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Dear Hannah: LEarning (The Diligent Shall Rule (Proverbs 12-24))



 
Dear Hannah,

Proverbs is a Bible book full of concrete, simple, indisputable wisdom.

The wisdom is offered in small, "bite-size" verses.

This makes it a good book to study with a mixed group of older and younger folks.

Studying Proverbs can lull you to sleep, though - please let me explain.

It is easy to interpret most proverbs as describing what a good person does vs. what a bad person does ... as if we are always comparing two different people.

Most proverbs, though, describe two distinct pathways that individuals have the opportunity to choose - and bear the fruit, the consequences, or some of both.

These are the proverbs that make me pause, consider, and wrestle - to unpack additional layers of wisdom and insight that challenge my growth.

These are the ones that make you say "uhhh ... mmmmm ...".

They make you quiet - but in a good way.


Love,

Daddy


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Selection

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"LEarning (The Diligent Shall Rule (Proverbs 12-24)) (4-12-2018)"
By Derrick Brown
4-12-2018


A few weeks ago, my wife and I attended a small group meeting at our church.

We studied Proverbs 12.

Proverbs is a Bible book full of concrete, simple, indisputable wisdom.

The wisdom is offered in small, "bite-size" verses.

This makes it a good book to study with a mixed group of older and younger folks.

Studying Proverbs can lull you to sleep, though - please let me explain.

It is easy to interpret most proverbs as describing what a good person does vs. what a bad person does ... as if we are always comparing two different people.

Most proverbs, though, describe two distinct pathways that individuals have the opportunity to choose - and bear the fruit, the consequences, or some of both.

These are the proverbs that make me pause, consider, and wrestle - to unpack additional layers of wisdom and insight that challenge my growth.

These are the ones that make you say "uhhh ... mmmmm ...".

They make you quiet - but in a good way.

Our small group meetings flow like this - we take turns reading each verse.

After the reading concludes, members interject their thoughts through streams of consciousness.

I think I read Proverbs 12:23, and I think my wife read Proverbs 12:24 ...

    Proverbs 12:24 The diligent person will rule, but the slothful (lazy) will become a slave.

    Proverbs 12:23 The shrewd person conceals knowledge, but foolish people publicize folly (their foolishness).

Once we read these two verses, I kinda zoned out - and missed the remaining reading and discussion.

It was for the best, because my contribution to our discussion would have to wait.

I had some wrestling to do first ...

First wrestling match: Proverbs 12:24 (The diligent person will rule, but the slothful (lazy) will become a slave.)

The beauty of scripture is that you can study the same verse at two different times ... and get deeper - sometimes even different - understanding.

Because we are not the same today as we were yesterday.

There is lots in the Bible that I have never encountered ... so I admit that this was my first time ever seeing Proverbs 12:24.

However, I am kinda at life's "crossroads" now, so this was a great time to be introduced.

When the student is ready, the teacher will teach.


Diligence

I am a diligent kind of cat.

The entire room agrees with that.

"Diligent" means "persevering - especially in detail or exactness".

There are many doubtful days, though, when I don't feel like I am ruler of anything.

I see lots of lazy folks ruling the contracts that I bid on, publishing the magazines I try to write for, and awarding the fellowships that I apply for.

My first name, though ("Derrick") means "ruler of his people".

This is a daily reminder of my destiny.

My current situation is not my destiny.

Leaving "here" and getting "there" is a continuous function of belief, strategy, and execution.

Here's what I believe - I already rule and reign through my diligence.

I rule and reign my essence (who I am) and my function (what I do).

My diligence makes me the best "me" that there will ever be.

I have permission to be "me" - and I am a "me" with a special set of skills ... acquired over a long career ... that heve helped me build and chase my dreams.

Here's the balance, though ... I have permission to do "me" ... but it costs to be the boss.

Opportunities are often disguised as work.

That work is often done at the request of lazy folks who control lots of opportunities ... some of that control is unmerited.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a meritocracy (a society that empowers intellectuals).

That sounds like bad news ... but that sounds like good news.

It is bad news when you think with your eyes ...

... because I am tired of being exploited, marginalized, and targeted with passive aggression (or "microagression" - as we now say) by folks who want to keep me and my intellect "in my place".

This is good news, though, if you keep your eyes on the prize.

Yes - there are people who control resources and opportunities with no real understanding of what they possess.

Yes - there are people who view other people as resources under their strict and total control (their "subjects").

Yes - they intentionally undermine, control, and marginalize their human "resources".

Guess what?

One, two, or even a few of them will bring you in and provide an opportunity to do their work.

If you know who you are, you don't view yourself as their employee or subject ... rather, you are their consultant.

You will be connected for a brief moment in time to provide a solution, and to be handsomely compensated for said solution.

Rinse and repeat.

Remember, though - that this arrangement is for a limited time only.

Do not become comfortable with corporate welfare.

This leads to spiritual warfare.

This leads to a more comfortable - but equally heinous - form of slavery.

One with unspoken, invisible mental and financial chains - some of which are self-inflicted.

Believe in who you are.

Believe in what you can do.

Build strategies that assume full responsibility for inputs (management, marketing, problem solving, and finance) and outputs (products & deliverables).

Explain what you can do (and what you have done) to those who need these things done.

Do what you do with splendor and excellence.

Keep your game tight.

Get your money right.

Remember that the customer is always right - so choose customers carefully.

Give the customer what the customer requires, but do not become dependent on their comfort, approval, sponsorship, and permission.

This dependence begats a laziness that will make you a slave to their desires - and your own.

Independence and autonomy will make you free to be - and do - "you".

Be prepared to pay for that independence, autonomy, and freedom, though.

Remember earlier ... when I mentioned that most proverbs describe two distinct pathways that individuals have the opportunity to choose - and bear the fruit, the consequences, or some of both?

I hope I have illustrated the diligent, purposeful, difficult pathway that makes me the ruler ... and the lazy, ambitious, comfortable one that can make me the slave.

Count the costs, and commit to your choice.

Selah.


About Derrick Brown (Standup Storyteller)


I am Keisha's husband, and Hannah's father.

I am a “standup storyteller.”

I fuse rap, spoken word (poetry), oration (traditional public speaking), singing, and teaching into messages of hope, healing, and change that I write, direct, and produce to help people who help people.

Everything must change - and stay changED.

Tradition begins and ends with change.

Change begins with me and the renewing of my mind ... then continues through efforts to effect small-group discipleship (equipping others to equip others) with audiences that respect and embrace mentoring, mediation, and problem solving as tools of change.

I am the product of my mentoring relationships, peacemaking (and peacekeeping), and problem-solving ability.

My education began when I finished school.

After school, I enrolled in a lifelong curriculum that includes classes in ministry, entrepreneurship, stewardship, literacy, numeracy, language, self-identity, self-expression, and analysis / synthesis.

My projects execute a ministry that has evolved from wisdom earned through lessons learned.

I want to share this wisdom to build teams of "triple threat" fellows - mentors, mediators, and problem solvers.

We will collaborate in simple, powerful ways that allow us to help people who help people.

I now know that power is work done efficiently (with wise and skillful use of resources, interests, communication, and expertise).

Copyright © 2018 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.


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