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  • Shawn Thornton

Too Much of a Good Thing

Sunday - October 25th

Scripture to Read Today: Proverbs 25:1-28

If you find honey, eat just enough—

too much of it, and you will vomit.

Proverbs 25:16


Anything good in moderation is better in excess. Lesli (my wife) claims this is the motto of Thornton men. She thinks my grandfather, father, son, and I all live by this adage. The first time Lesli shared this observation with me, I couldn't see what she saw. But then she gave some examples—one great one from my grandfather.

When my grandpa Thornton was well into his 80s, he began to develop bleeding sores all over his skin. Any scab from them would be torn off by just a light brush against his skin. At the same time, he began to have incredibly bloodshot eyes. It became such an issue that my grandma finally talked him into going to the doctor.

The doctor looked at grandpa's skin sores and his eyes. He asked grandpa if he was taking an aspirin a day. "Yes, I take a few," my grandpa replied. "How many is a few, Howard?" the doctor asked. My grandfather said, "I buy them in the big 500 pill bottle and take a handful a day." The doctor inquired why grandpa was taking a handful when he had been told to take one a day. Grandpa's response supports Lesli's theory that Thornton men believe "anything good in moderation is better in excess." Grandpa said, "If one was a good idea to help my health, I thought a handful would be that much better."

Needless to say, after grandpa followed the doctor's new orders not to take any aspirin, the mysterious sores all over his body and his bloodshot eyes all cleared up. You would think the succeeding men in the Thornton family learned something from grandpa's experience. Not so much. But I try.

Even the best of things can be too much for us. Too much of a good thing often leads to adverse and even detrimental outcomes. Proverbs 25:16 says, "If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit." In the ancient world, honey was their candy. To discover honey in a honeycomb of a bees nest meant you had found a free candy source. But the proverb reminds us that too much of a good thing can even make us sick.

To avoid gorging ourselves on the best of life, we need to have self-control. We need to enjoy the good things of life in moderation, not excess. If you haven't gotten it by now, Lesli's adage about Thornton men was not a compliment. She was trying to help me see a weakness - a weakness that could be harmful. It might even be harmful 90% of the time.

How about you? Do you take handfuls of good things? Do you overindulge to your harm or the harm of others?

God gives us every good thing to be used in moderation and not in excess. Excess is detrimental - even with good stuff!

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