What do you have an appetite for?

From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is satisfied; he is filled with the product of his lips.
Proverbs 18:20

I read this verse recently and to be honest, I didn’t think it made sense. A mouth doesn’t make fruit. Lips don’t produce food. So what is this verse saying? What’s the meaning, assuming there is one. Well, from a biological standpoint, the way to the stomach is through the mouth. And what is the stomach? It’s our appetite. How do we satisfy our appetite? With food, of course. Food that we put in our mouth. So then, the mouth is the conduit we use to satisfy our appetite.

If we have a piece of fruit, we don’t put it on our foot. We don’t rub it on our back. We don’t pick a tomato and squish it in our armpits. That’s silly. Of course, that might confirm what your neighbors already think of you, “Our neighbor, the weirdo,” but it’s just not what we do with fruit, with food. We bite into it, passing it along to our stomach to satisfy our appetite.

Could the verse be helping us to discover and define what we have an appetite for? Not biologically, but spiritually, emotionally, professionally, relationally? Chapter 18 compares the fool and the wise man. The fool does this, the wise man does that. Foolishness is this, wisdom is that. So maybe this verse is advising us to be wise, not foolish, about a few things:

  1. Being aware of our appetite (illustrated by the man’s stomach)
  2. What we use to satisfy that appetite (the fruit/ product)
  3. The conduit we use to get the product where it needs to go (his mouth/ lips)

Let’s say you have an appetite, a hunger, for helping people. One way to satisfy that is to do volunteer work. You sign up with Habitat For Humanity. Do you like being in your car, out on the road? Maybe you sign up to be a driver for Uber or Lyft. What if you have a hunger for wealth? There are many ways to go about that, so you try online trading, flipping a house, or fly to Vegas for a weekend.

In these examples, Habitat for Humanity, driving your car, online trading/Vegas is the fruit. The conduit is volunteering, signing up for Uber or Lyft, and buying stock or going to Vegas.

Clearly there are good and bad ways to go about satisfying your appetite. Just like food, there’s fruit, veggies, healthy things you can eat, but there’s also junk food. The junk food might satisfy you for a second but in the end it does more harm than good. There can be ways to become wealthy, like Vegas for instance. But gambling in general is junk food. Being a getaway driver… not the best way to satisfy your craving for being on the road! Some might say handing out money to panhandlers holding up signs off a highway exit would be the junk food of volunteering.

So what do you have an appetite for? How are you feeding it? Are you looking for healthy, Biblical ways to satisfy your hunger? If so, I’d say you’re being wise…good job! If you’re like me, you’ve found a lot of ways that don’t work and that, my friend, makes us foolish!

Here’s to making wise choices, and eating fruit!

-Out of the Wilderness

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Trusting God to sustain

…at times the path way has been steep and rocky, sometimes treacherous even, but by going to Him in prayer, in medication, in reading His word, He has sustained me EVERY TIME.
Grand-daddy Davis

My grandfather wrote those words to me in 1991, not knowing that 26 years later his grandson would be self-employed and learning what “sustain” really means. And I love that he capitalized “EVERY TIME.” It’s like having a best friend that never can’t hang out, ┬áthat won’t ever decline to show up. I also love to think about God using this definition from dictionary.com

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.39.44 AM

That’s what God promises to do for us. Amazing! It’s so much farther beyond just the physical (money, food, etc), too. It’s also emotional, spiritual, sanity, temper, fear, anxiety, worry. This whole interest in God as sustainer and provider really gained traction this year, 2017. But I guess the story dates back to when I was laid off a couple years ago (early 2015). That year flew by as I rode out my severance package. 2016 was an adventurous year as I pursued less traditional forms of income (I wrote a book!). When 2017 rolled around it was a lot like the previous year, until tax season.

You dropped a bomb on me!

I didn’t realize how much I’d owe till I totaled up everything from 2016. And I also tithe around tax season, so my checking account was about to take a hefty hit. Thankfully, I survived… though there’s a water line on the wall of my checking account, much like when a flood recedes. This line here is how much you used to have… now, you’re waaaaaaaaay down here.

So as I was monitoring my accounts more closely, I began praying more earnestly. What does the Bible say about who to trust, who will provide, and all that? Well, the answer is easy: God. But I guess when I was on a salary, I never really thought about that sort of stuff. The checks go in automatically, the health coverage is taken care of, there’s not a scramble to make ends meet.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

This is the year of trusting God to sustain me, like Grand-daddy did. The first real example was tax season, like I mentioned. But then not too long after that, my computer froze up. One Apple computer later, I was actually excited to get to trust God for a way to keep working (I edit videos as part of my income) and at the same time, not losing my mind out of frustration!

Don’t get me wrong, I have a long way to go. It’s a daily thing, and often I’m like:

But I love Proverbs 23 and 30 that have two great advices…

“Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it.” Then in chapter 30, “Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny You, saying, ‘Who is the LORD?’; or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.”

I think we all have an opportunity each day to trust God to sustain us. And it’s amazing, SO AMAZING, when we recognize Him doing it.

-Out of the Wilderness