Proverbs 21:21 He who pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity and honor.
Different translations use different words for the Hebrew that the NIV renders as “love,” (the Japanese uses “integrity”) but the point is, when your goals are right, you gain even more than you were after. We human beings have a real problem with perspective. We seek after things, not seeing what is going to follow if we get them. That is of course evident in addictive behaviors, where we can’t see that the immediate rush is going to lead to ultimate devastation. I’m reminded of something I read about a trick used by wolf trappers who were after perfect hides, but weren’t interested in live animals. In really cold weather, they would fix a sharp knife somewhere, point up, and pour blood on it. A wolf would find it and start licking the blood, cutting their own tongue in the process. In the cold, they wouldn’t notice the pain, and would mistake their own blood for what was originally on the knife, and keep licking until they bled to death, leaving a dead wolf and a perfect hide. Addictive behaviors are very much like that. However, this verse is about the opposite: seeking good and getting even more. This is what Jesus was talking about in His very famous instructions in Matthew 6:33. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” If we set our goals on lesser things we won’t get what’s really important, and there’s a good chance we won’t get the lesser things either. However, if our goals are as God intends, then we get the whole package.
I’ve quite frankly never been very goal-oriented, which has been a real hindrance to success, by some measures. It has been noted by various people over the years that I have a lot of “unfulfilled potential.” However, I had an early goal of a wife who would be a life partner indeed, and that has been met magnificently! In the process, I have gained more good than I could enumerate. After the Lord brought me to my senses, spiritually speaking, when I was 23, I set my heart on fellowship with Him, and that has been the real prize. As I have sought Him, He has brought me blessing after blessing, even as this verse says. I have no fear of death, certainly, and very little fear of anything else. I have anticipation of each day, knowing that He has good plans for it, and for me. I have the joy of recognizing Him working through me blessing others, and that is indescribable. As I minister I seek to help other understand this whole concept, but too often they either think I’m bragging or they think they’re not worthy. I’m not bragging, and I’m not worthy either; God’s grace is available to us all.
Father, I pray that by Your Holy Spirit You would reveal this truth to those to whom I minister. I’ve certainly proved that I can’t do it in my own wisdom and strength! May more and more set their hearts on fellowship with You, because that is what You desire of us. May we be transformed into Your children indeed, doing Your will in every detail, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!