The book of Proverbs is pretty much always good for advice regardless of the mood you are in or the situations going on in your life, so I always like it when my reading plan has me rummaging around in them.
The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!” (prov.26:13).
Now, a person who sees an actual lion in the road does well to avoid the road, unless he is a lion trapper or something. Spotting the lion can save lives, avoiding the lion is wise and good. Metaphorically, some people do very well indeed spotting lions, they avoid lemon-cars, overpriced houses, unfaithful spouses and win the lottery.
Many people (alright, to be frank in my experience more men than women do this) make up lions in the road. Sometimes we do this to seem smart, like we are sooo intelligent that we can avoid problems before they come. We are such good leaders others should follow us because we can always see three moves ahead, as if we are all chess masters or something. Or only we have the special insight to gauge the value of a proposition or path forward.
If we are honest though, and the book of Proverbs is calling this out, sometimes we spot the lion because we are lazy. We don’t really want to do whatever it is and so we search high and low and find lions in the road that will give us an excuse for inaction. We are all capable of this and we all do it somewhere in life. In my life this often takes the form of my whining about potential traffic because I would rather stay home.
Maybe it is diet “less meat???? Where will I get my protein???” (Answer: same place your meat based protein does).
Maybe it is fitness “running!?>$% I can’t run I have bad knees” (Answer: try swimming, cycling, or any of the hundreds of non-running methods to get your heart and lungs going).
Maybe it is finance “pay down my debt!!! Save!!! Give money away!@#$@ Are you kidding me??? (No, I am not and it is important, find a way).
Maybe it is relational “Say I am sorry!!! I ain’t weak they were wrong!” (Be sorry, it builds trust and has a way of helping relationships).
But in my little world I encounter this most often when it comes to spiritual practices. We humans have all sorts of struggles, health-fitness-relational-emotional-spiritual-cant-get-to-sleep-at-night…We want healing and improvement, but we see lions in the road. People definitively say ahead of time that something won’t work (they put a lion in the road) even if they have never really tried it or haven’t in a long time.
5 minute bible readings are too long, a day off is impossible, prayer doesn’t work/is boring/takes time…This never really comes across as wisdom and understanding, spotting the lion in this case really just seems lazy (or at best afraid to encounter the living God).
The history of the church includes any number of practices that have worked for any number of people in any number of circumstances, wisdom would suggest that they will work for us too, if we give them a try.
My challenge to you, if you are still reading, is to reflect on what lions you see in the road that are really just lies or laziness and what are you going to do about them?