Author: Bobby Clark
Proverbs Chapters 23 and 24 are a continuation of the collection of miscellaneous “wisdom” sayings with the distinction that most of the proverbs in these two chapters have a lot to say about what not to do – about showing restraint in your daily activities and life pursuits.
In 23:4-5 the writer is admonishing his child to show restraint in the accumulation of wealth since it can very easily “sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” Here today and gone tomorrow.
I recall a time many years ago when we were building a lot of momentum in our business, and I suddenly found myself in possession of a very, very large (at least in the mind and eyes of a kid who grew up in the foothills of the Arkansas Ozarks) bonus check paid out early in the year from the previous year’s results! The check had my name on it!! I quickly began thinking to myself, “Wow!” Followed by a few moments of stunned cranial silence and then again, “Wow! Yesss!! Man I have finally hit the Big Time!! Why, with this kind of money all in one lump sum, I can finally get that Razorback Red Metallic Fleck Ranger Bass Boat from Flippin, AR!” Now my mind is really racing and I quickly added a Ford F150 4×4 with an identical paint scheme – Wow, what a combo!!
In the midst of spending all that money, my wife comes home and asks, “Baby, did you get that bonus check yet?” To which I reluctantly replied, “Uh Huh.” She then said, “I need you to sign the back of the check and give it to me.” My dream was beginning to fade by the second as suddenly a sense of foreboding began to darken the vibrant picture I had held so vividly only moments before. “Why?” I hesitantly inquired. She responded, “Our CPA, (who just happens to be her baby sister) let me know that we made more than we anticipated and we owe much more in taxes to Uncle Sam than we paid in quarterlies.” “Uh, how much more?” I ventured, thinking surely I can at least salvage the boat, I mean who cares if I have to pull it to the Marina in a bright red Dodge Neon. She then responded with a figure a little larger than the amount of the check!!
Then it hit me like a bolt of lightning, (or rather more appropriately the Holy Spirit was reminding me of a proverb I had underlined many years ago because I thought the imagery was hilarious) “Cast but a glance at riches for they will fly off like an eagle!” which, is my paraphrase of Proverbs 23:4-5 “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”
With a weary sigh, I signed the check and handed it over. Every bit of that check and a few thousand more dollars, just like that, flew off to Uncle Sam! And don’t think for a moment the irony of the American symbol of the Eagle was lost on me!!
Well, I still do not have a Ranger Bass Boat (of any color) from Flippin, AR … but I do have a big black Ford pick up to pull my wife’s 23 foot Deck Boat from Jacksonville, TX!! Ha, amazing how God knows in advance that a Deck Boat is much, much more practical for hauling a bunch of grandkids around the lake! (Besides, if your wife is not with you …. you can even fish out of it!!)