Text: “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, or else, having too much, you will vomit it.” – Proverbs 25.16
It seems a simple humorous bible verse but it has enormous challenges for our lives. Our scripture never ceases to amaze me at how our ancient texts can deal with human issues that span generations, and this is one of those scriptures. By saying enjoy your honey but too much and you will vomit, the verse is telling us that moderation is a virtue, and to ignore this virtue has unpleasant consequences.
It rings true for honey, and for any type of overeating or drinking. Too much of a good thing has very unpleasant consequences for you; physically for sure, and if you make indulgence part of your lifestyle, the effects are longer lasting and affect more than just yourself.
I remember learning this early on as a kid. I’d sleepover at a friend’s house and we’d eat a ton of candy, watch horror movies, and stay up until 3 or 4 am. Sure I had tons of fun at the sleepover, but it was anything but moderate. The next day I was cranky, my stomach hurt, and I had nightmares from whatever ridiculous movie I had watched. Once in a while, say for a birthday party, this was fun stuff, but every weekend? Not so great.
Or ancestors of faith knew this virtue of moderation and so they passed their wisdom on. It seems our God created us to be people of moderation. Our bodies, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, echo this truth. Too much, whether it’s honey, snacks, or alcohol, news, or Netflix, does not lead to a place of peace in our bodies or minds.
In quarantine, this is proving to be even more challenging. Like many in this quarantine, I’m requiring myself to wear jeans every couple of days because they provide a not so welcome reality check to my quarantine snacking, which hasn’t exactly been in moderation. So this week I put a jar of honey in my pantry next to my favorite snacks. It’s a reminder to eat just enough. This week, I laugh at this proverb every time I open the pantry door.
Moderation isn’t the most exciting virtue to focus on, but it is a reminder of the vulnerability of our bodies, minds, and spirits. Let’s try to be kind to our vulnerable selves.
Prayer: God, grant us the desire to care for not only our bodies, but our minds, and our spirits as well. Instill within us the moderation our ancestors sought to live. Amen.