Whoever seeks good finds favor,
but evil comes to one who searches for it. — Proverbs 11:27
We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.
A few years ago, I attended a talk given by the popular Israeli professor Tal Ben-Shahar, known for his work in the field of positive psychology. At one point during the presentation, Professor Ben-Shahar told the audience that he would project a picture on a screen for 90 seconds and instructed us to count how many shapes we could find in the picture.
A picture of a school bus carrying children on a sunny day down a tree-lined street immediately appeared, and like everyone else, I started to look for and count all the shapes that I saw. When the 90 seconds were up and the photo disappeared, instead of asking us how many shapes we found, Professor Ben-Shahar asked us how many children were on the bus.
In a roomful of intelligent adults, who had just stared at the picture for over a minute, not one person knew the answer! We had all been so focused on finding shapes that no one took notice of the children.
Focus on What Is Good
Professor Ben-Shahar’s exercise pointed out that we only find what we are looking for. What we see in our lives reflects what we seek out and choose to focus on. A person who’s caught up in the negative aspects of life and is overly focused on problems will most likely have a hard time seeing the blessings in life. Such a person will find life more difficult and likely feel down a lot of the time.
On the other hand, someone who seeks out the positive aspects of life and decides to focus on what is good will see God’s blessings everywhere. Such a person will experience life as wonderful and feel grateful and happy much of the time.
Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, wrote in Proverbs, “Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.” If we look for the good in every situation, we will find it. But if we are negative and thrive on being a victim of life, we will find validation for our victimhood everywhere.
Ultimately, our perspective on life determines the trajectory of our lives. Let’s choose to focus on God’s blessings, and then, as Solomon says, we will find even more of God’s favor.
Be sure to tune into my new podcast, Nourish Your Biblical Roots, to hear the latest episode which airs on Sunday.