Proverbs 23:1-2 Dissected & Defined
“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat if thou be a man given to appetite.”
Dissected & Defined
A ruler is a leader. To consider is to fix the mind on. An appetite is a passion that requests gratification.
Here we see another verse that discusses our thoughts and actions when interacting with those in authority over us. Solomon is using the analogy of dining with a leader to express his “underlying meaning” of remaining content with present positions.
As a leader, I look to advance people that have drive and enthusiasm. However, I tend to avoid people that have agendas. These are people that have a strong hunger or appetite that must be gratified. Therefore I call it a selfish drive to thrive.
Solomon indicates this makes a person unbearable to his leadership. It’s not a born weakness, but rather an acquired trait. It has been cultivated through gratification of passions—the feeding of unhealthy appetites.
Appetites strengthen when they are fed and they weaken when starved. I remember the first time I was invited into my former employer’s office. My, oh my, did I feel important! It was such a great feeling and it created an appetite to “get in there” more often. I wanted to be noticed and utilized in an effective way. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if I would have fed that appetite to “get back in there” at all costs, I would have become too aggressive and driven him away from me. Rather, the Lord gave me the wisdom with Mr. Arnold and with my pastor (whose attention I coveted), to find their problems, fix them, and wait for my invitation to return.
This led to a greater degree of satisfaction from my leadership and a more disciplined appetite in my followship. As a result, I improved their productivity and they improved my accessibility. To this day, both remain my mentors in life.
The underlying meaning? Your hunger can hound you and hurt your “helping” size.