”When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners: Don’t gobble your food, don’t talk with your mouth full. And don’t stuff yourself; bridle your appetite.” Proverbs 23:1-3
This entire passage is about self-control; I get that (which is not fun to read, think or write about post Christmas while visions of baked goods still dance through my head).
I understand very clearly that this verse is encouraging me to not get lost in indulgence / to carry myself in a respectful way / to think through my actions / to mind my habits / to surrender what controls me / to pay attention to what is going on around me & to not be caught up in a lack of self-restraint.
Dear Proverbs: you’re ringin’ in the New Year loud and clear.
But I can’t help but think there’s something deeper to the phrase, “mind your manners.” As in, Proverbs can’t possibly be challenging me to do something as simple as minding my pleases and thank yous.
Manner: a person’s outward bearing or way of behaving toward others; demeanour, air, attitude, bearing, cast, behaviour and conduct.
Meaning, when you go out to dinner, work, social gatherings, church or your neighbourhood…
…with an influential person, friend, sibling, parent, acquaintance, college, or stranger…
…mind your manners: the way you walk, talk, think, act, pray, live, serve, love, influence – the manner in which you conduct your life.
…don’t gobble your food – guzzle, bolt, wolf, gorge, and greedily devour whatever you are using to nourish your life.
…don’t talk with your mouth so full of stuff that you are completely irrelevant to everyone listening. Who can hear any form of truth when you’ve lost the ability to speak with clarity?
…And don’t stuff yourself. Healthy nourishment is meant to sustain you for a day and then you need to refuel. Don’t stuff and stuff and stuff so you are so filled with everything and anything that you can’t even walk it out. Feed yourself with wisdom, then live it out. Eat some more wisdom, then live it out some more. You are no good to anyone if you’re a lump on a log (much like how I feel by the end of the holiday’s, lol).
Finally, bridle your appetite. Stick those horse blinders on your eyes in such a way that you are only looking at what Christ is calling you to do. Don’t be so bogged down from looking in every which way direction that you aren’t even living with purpose.
Mind your manners.
Or in other words: manner your mind.