Modern Proverbs

I love it when people use proverbs they don’t really understand. I don’t mean a reference to the book after Psalms or even cheesy cliche or catchphrases. I’m talking about oldies but goodies.

“A watched pot never boils.”

“Never look a gift horse in the mouth.”

“Red in the morning, sailor’s take warning. Red sky at night sailor’s delight.”

Seriously? Who uses these anymore? Who even really understands why looking a horse in the mouth would be something to avoid?

My mom always taught me that “history repeats itself.” I’m thirty now and I’m just beginning to understand this. I don’t mean that we’re going to go back to the stone ages and rediscover fire. I mean that the issues of the past will resurface at some point and manifest in the given time in just another cycle. We have histories full of wars and have just discovered more colorful (or more “humane”) ways to commit genocide (please sense the sarcasm). But the heart of man really hasn’t changed. My roommate said to me one night “time creates new problems.” (Good one Jared). But man’s response to those problems really only comes from one or two basic roots.

Modern proverbs are for the time. They’re not really timeless, they’re just repackaged. Our generation just loves profound things. I don’t mean “loves”…I actually mean is o.b.s.e.s.s.e.d. with profound things. In working with young adults for a living, I can tell them a nugget of truth in plain words and get about 10% retention (that’s generous by the way). But if I put it in a song or illustrate it in a story, it’s like I just suggested that everlasting gobstoppers were real and that I had one for each of them.

I like proverbs. I actually keep a note page on my phone to keep track of observations I have about the world. Figuring out the world and understanding how it works is fascinating to me. Right now here are a few I have:

“Passion is the motivation of the young.”

“Immature conviction has hugely destructive potential.”

“Beauty is not dependent on my recognition of it.”

I’m trying them on for size. Maybe there’s merit to them, maybe there’s not. I’m looking at the world to see if there’s wisdom in there somewhere.

That’s the point right? The response to Solomon’s prayer?

“I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.” 1 Kings 3:12

Let’s find this wisdom folks. It’s getting some good reviews.

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