Right Up The Proverbial

One of the things I do each morning is read either a chapter of Psalms or Proverbs and as I journal I write down the one verse that struck me or impacted me. Pretty simple, but after 20 chapters of Proverbs I hadn’t really sensed too much going on. Its like that sometimes with the Bible.

Then came the day we went to Lapa Restaurant, an amazing Brazilian affair where meat is the thing and there is heaps of it! Waiters come to your table with beautifully cooked meats and you can eat as much as you want… It’s both Hamo heaven and hell, because in situations like this my ‘labrador gene’ kicks in and I eat pretty much everything that turns up in front of me. I am prone to gluttony – one of the more socially acceptable sins – but a sin nevertheless – and I don’t say that tongue in cheek.

So on that very morning I sit down to read my chapter of Proverbs (23) and this is what I read…


I don’t think so. I sensed it was God just reminding me that I’m about to put temptation in my path and it may not end well. As it turned out we had a fantastic night out with friends at a great restaurant and I think I finished up just on the right side of gluttony. I was able to leave with no ill effects – unlike the ‘All you can eat’ Sam and I got stuck into at the Port Macquarie Bowls Club and left so full we could hardly move. I won’t be doing that again…

It was just the day before that I had another moment when the Proverb I read spoke directly to my life. I was at work when the phone rang and it was one of my clients, a man I had done some retic and turf for. He sounded worried and anxious and as he explained the situation he told me that his toilets weren’t working, he had called a plumber to sort things out and it seemed that my bobcat guy had hit the sewer inspection pipe with his bobcat and dumped a heap of sand and rocks into the pipe, literally blocking up everything.

He put the plumber on the phone who explained the situation. Basically the drain was full of rocks and he couldn’t get them out, and because of the location of the sewer relative to a retaining wall to get to the bottom of it they may need to dig down to where the inspection meets the drain – 2m deep. ‘It doesn’t look good mate,’ he said. ‘So I’d prepare for a decent sized bill.’

The client got back on the phone. ‘You guys have insurance for this stuff right?’

‘Yeah’ I said. ‘Don’t worry we will get it sorted. You just carry on and get it fixed one way or another.’

I went home and dug out my public liability policy only to read that any under-gound sewer, electrical or telecommunication pipes are not covered.

‘What?…’ What kinda dumbass policy is this anyway!?’

In that precise moment my dark side rose up and I began to think of how I could wriggle out of this now increasingly uncomfortable situation. It was the bobcat driver who hit the pipe – not me… I do put a disclaimer on all my quotes stating that if I hit something during work and it hasn’t been pointed out then no responsibility is taken, so I could just refer him to the ‘fine print’.

But who wants to do that hey?

I was baulking because I could saw a very expensive repair happening and it was going to land at my feet. I spoke to the bobcat guy who kindly offered to go halves – nice of him as I know he hasn’t got two pennies to rub together. But the question was how much? My bobcat guy said the last time this happened it was $2K.

I was wrestling with accepting that while my own fine print gave me a way out, I didn’t feel right about taking it. I’m more a ‘spirit of the law’ person than ‘letter’ but in this moment the ‘letter’ seemed to be pulling me.

The next morning as I opened my chapter of Proverbs it was to 22:1

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Couldn’t get it much clearer than that could you? I had already told Peter not to worry – that we would work it out – even if my inner self was bobbing between acceptance and evasion. But that one verse summed it up perfectly.

No point in saving $1000 if everyone knows you’re a jerk…

I rang Peter the next day to see how they were getting on with the job. He told me the plumber had done all he could and now they were calling in a bloke with a super vac machine to try and suck everything out of the drain. He was gonna be $600 just for that service. He even sent me a picture… (below)

I was too busy to dwell on it, so I kept working.

I didn’t hear from Peter, but I was due at his house a few days later to reset his control box. I arrived and we chatted. I’d been there 10 minutes and still the sewer hadn’t been mentioned. Had he forgotten? I knew I hadn’t, so I just asked ‘So Peter how did the plumbing job work out? What do I owe you?’

‘Oh nothing mate – don’t worry!’ he said. ‘It was $1000 in the end but I’m just so happy to be able to poo again that I’m not concerned.’

I was taken back to say the least. ‘Nah come on’ I said. ‘Let’s at least share it.’ But he was insistent and firm. I accepted and thanked him for his generosity and kindness. I let Daryl the bobcat guy know who was relieved as he had sweating on it since the day.

So a gentle reminder from the Proverbs that who you are is more important than how much you have – but also a reminder to get a better insurance policy.