"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it." Proverbs 15:17 (AMP)
"Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred." Proverbs 15:17 (NASB)
"A bowl of vegetables with someone you love
is better than steak with someone you hate." Proverbs 15:17 (NLT)
I stumbled across this verse yesterday and it made me smile, so I had to look it up in several different translations to see what it said in each one. Each one continued to make me smile, because it is just so incredibly true, and it was fun to find such a nugget hiding away in Proverbs.
I know on a basic level, this verse means exactly what it says. I would much rather eat a plate of vegetables here in my home with my family than go out to dinner for a fancy steak with someone I don't particularly like. The vegetables would be far more tasty and far more enjoyable because I'm with those I love best.
But when I look a little deeper and think on it a little more, I also can't help but think about how this verse can say so much more and be applied to so many more situations. When I think on that fattened ox, I think about all the work and trouble that went in to making that ox fat. It took a lot of work, probably a lot of money... you know, when I think about this scenario, I think that in a husband and wife scenario, the husband probably wasn't around much in order to provide that fattened ox. He probably worked hard- worked overtime, and was seldom home to spend time with his wife and family.
On the other hand, down the road is the vegetable farmer. The man who also works hard, but doesn't have to spend 24/7 tending to his oxen. He plants his seeds, and tends to the plants during the daylight hours, but when the sun goes down he is able to spend plenty of time with his wife and family. They live meagerly, but they are together, and happy, and when the harvest comes in they have an abundance to be blessed by. It may only be vegetables, but they are together and happy, and that's what matters most.
Would I love to have a freezer full of steaks and meat? You bet I would. But not at the expense of our family's happiness and love for each other. Instead, we will be happy and satisfied by the fruits and vegetables we have on the pantry shelf and in the freezer. I sure do like the thought of having a freezer full of meat, but if we had, that would mean far less time that Andy would have gotten to spend here at home with the family. Sometimes it's too easy to lose sight of that. It's too easy to look around and see all the lack, and miss the part where we actually all get to spend time together. That time is time that we could never get back! Andy does spend long hours working when he is working, and the kids can go days without seeing him. I imagine that if he worked like that year round, they would not have the relationships that they have with each other. That's something that we lose sight of too often, I think. This time of year it can be really difficult to look at the calendar and look at the bills and realize that there is just no way to do Christmas gifts and pay the bills at the same time. And yet, that time together is very precious, and every year things work themselves out.
That's something to remember, and one of the reasons why I treasure this blog so much, because I can look back at the difficult winters and read my testimonies of years gone by and see exactly how God placed miracle after miracle in our lives. I love that so much. And I also especially love how I see this morning that God used a simple little Proverb about how vegetables served with love is better than meat served with hate to show me how the simple things in life are sometimes the things that matter the most.