God thwarts the plans of the crafty, so their actions won't succeed. He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are thwarted.
I and my fellow convention delegates sat in a stupor. We were seated around tables, listening to the steady drone of proposed resolutions: "Whereas, it behooves this convention . . . Therefore, be it resolved . . . And, be it further resolved . . ."
We soon viewed coffee breaks -- not as a pleasant diversion -- but as a survival tactic. To our dismay, however, the coffee supply was woefully inadequate for the hundreds of delegates. The pots were quickly drained and endless lines formed as we waited for more to be brewed.
Most of us were still standing in line when the next session began, and with a sigh of resignation, we dutifully trudged back to our seats.
I was becoming desperate. So, looking at the agenda for the next break, I got up five minutes early, rushed to the coffee table, and grabbed a cup before anyone else had moved. Triumphant, I returned to my table and enjoyed the envious stares of my caffeine-deprived fellow delegates.
When the break officially began, I said, "While all you wait in line for coffee, I think I'll just stretch my legs and go to the restroom."
My friend, Dave, said, "Go ahead, but your coffee might not be here when you get back."
"Oh, I don't think anyone's going to take it," I said, and leaning forward, spit in my cup. And, with a smirk and a wink, I was off.
After the break, we returned to the table and I smugly said, "Well, I see my coffee is still here."
Dave piped up, "Yeah, and just to make sure no one stole it, I spit in it too!"
If Dave was a better Christian, he would've told me whether or not he was kidding. Instead, he just grinned.
Meanwhile, I bravely ministered to all the other delegates at the table by providing them the pleasure of watching Mr. Smartypants stare at his cold cup of undrunk coffee.
But I could've served them in a better way; I could've asked them how they liked their coffee, and gotten up before break to bring them a cup instead of myself. They would've greatly appreciated it, and I would've been able to share in the joy of it all.
It's easier to believe that God had Jonah swallowed by a whale or made Nebuchadnezzar eat grass like a cow than to believe He thwarts the plans of the crafty. On rare occasions we see how the devious are defeated, but, in general, it looks like they're always first in line for coffee.
But the next time you selfishly scheme to beat everyone else in line, compare it to the pleasure you'd find in getting coffee for someone else instead.
Jesus is right: it is more joyful to give than to receive. The crafty never win.