The last freedom, one cup at a time

By Jeff Smith
Special to The PREVIEW

I don’t love the idea of working all my life.

I know it’s what most of us will have to do, but I envy those smart people who planned their lives, and retire to the golf course. While I’m sitting at my table, drinking coffee and getting ready to go to work, making myself do the next thing is tough.

I thought learning to be a wise person would be a good idea, so I am going through Proverbs, a book in the Bible written 3,000 years ago. Right now, I’m about finished with chapter six, which deals with freedom from the traps that life sets for us. The ones I have gone through so far are freedom from someone else’s debt problems, freedom from poverty, freedom from the swindler, from the anger of God, and the freedom that comes when we learn certain, basic rules to guide our lives by.

This next passage is the last one in the chapter:

“They will keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the strange woman. Let not your heart’s desire go after her fair body; let not her eyes take you prisoner. For a loose woman is looking for a cake of bread (Or, she “reduces you to a piece of bread”-NIV and most other versions), but another man’s wife goes after one’s very life.” Proverbs 6: 24-26

This morning, for the record, as I read this passage, I am not worried about adultery. I know it’s wrong and I guess it could be on my list of things to think about, but higher up would be getting cleaned up and out the door.

Here, Solomon talks about a man being lured into one of two traps. Yes, the guy is stupid to do this, but when did that stop any of us? The first trap is the loose woman. She reduces him to poverty. It’s the second one that gets me. That second woman has a husband and she’s going to finesse this so this fool gets killed. Wow. In the next chapter, Solomon describes how the drama plays out too. Flatter some guy, guide him into the house. Hubby is waiting. He is toast.

As a guy, I can fathom the idea of a man and a whore without saying it’s okay. But a woman who lures some fool to his death angers me. Solomon meant it to.

Solomon talks about the pursuit of wisdom in his book, saying it is like a romance between a man and a woman. He pursues, and wisdom enjoys being chased. But, just as there are great ways of thinking that we can fall in love with, there are some very bad ones too. If we are to pursue our dreams, don’t think there aren’t nightmares out there. Stupid ideas can waste your money and some will get you killed. Don’t love the idea of cheating people, or being lazy. Don’t hate the simple rules that keep us from doing wrong. If a friend expects you to bail them out of their debt mess, they may not be a friend.

And that is the last freedom. It is being free from the traps that life sets for us by not loving them. We are free when we love other, better things. Love God. Love justice. Love wisdom. Love the idea of being smarter than the foolish, selfish ideas that are out there. Love Him who is the described as the “Wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24).

After I pay my bills this month, I have ideas for the money that’s left. They are good ideas, too. Sitting here won’t make them happen.

“Want To Be Wise? Applying the Wisdom Of Solomon To the Modern Issues We All Face,” by Jeff Smith, is available through Wine Press Publishers and

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This story was posted on April 25, 2013.