It is not good to eat too much honey, or to seek glory after glory.
The wisdom from God’s word is relevant for each life and for each season of life. In this passage Solomon warns us of seeking too much after those things that are sweet to our taste. Too much honey, or too many sweets to eat or too many of any of those things that are pleasing to our senses, is dangerous and normally harmful to us physically. They reveal a life whose appetites are out of control, who has not found a way to resolve wants and needs. They show one who has not yet learned to put this part of his life under the Lordship of Christ.
Worse, however, is the life who craves praise after praise, glory after glory, who cannot get enough of compliments, affirmations, and recognitions. Here is an emotional appetite that has never been brought under the Lordship of Christ.
What if you could never again have another taste of something sweet? What if, from this point on, you never were served desserts, cakes, pies, sodas, or candies? Would you survive? How would your body adjust? What would happen to your habits? How would your social life change?
A better question is this: What if you never heard another word of praise? What if from this moment on no one ever again encouraged you in the faith, affirmed you for your commitment, or recognized you for your service? What if you never again were in a worship service with thousands of others praise God, where there was a united sense of His glory? Would you survive? Would your ministry survive? How about your sanity, your enthusiasm, your commitment? What would change and what would remain the same? What would improve and what would be worse?
Some important observations:
1. Praise, like sugar, is not necessary to have in order to survive. It is nice to receive, but once we begin to crave it our lives and ministries get out of order.
2. Just like it is unhealthy to eat dessert after every meal, it is likewise unhealthy to expect recognition or outward motivational experiences after every act of service. Those who stand firmest and longest in service for Christ, who will play the most strategic roles for Christ in the expansion of His kingdom, will be the ones who do not play to the crowd, but learn to listen to the affirming voice of God who through His Spirit says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
3. Just as life without sweets would be lackluster, so service without some encouragement would be hard and despairing. God knows this and does intend to provide us with what we need; He has given some in the body of Christ the spiritual gift of encouragement and will send encouragement at the right time. We just need to keep these matters in perspective and avoid cravings, because craving praise can distort all of our priorities.
Lord, teach us to listen to Your voice and to be faithful to Your word, regardless of what others may say or what others may do. Let us seek as Your representatives to encourage and console others in Your name, for the right things and in the right ways, and not crave earthly recognition and praise. But when it does come our way, let us graciously and gratefully accept it, watching our hearts that we might not be tempted to be prideful, lustful, or vain. Amen.