Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 13:17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing.
A Faithful Messenger
by Robin Aylor
You may remember the old children’s story how a young shepherd boy out in the field with his flock cried out: “wolf! wolf!”. Many people from the village heard his cry echo down into the town and they rushed to help him.
I can just see this young punk sitting on a rock and laughing as the townsfolk run out to help him with their shovels and hey forks. You see… it was only a prank.
Later on… that bored mischievous boy played the same joke on the people again. Not long after that, a true wolf appeared but this time when the boy cries out for real he was ignored by the townsfolk.
According to Wikipedia the earliest version of the fable says the flock of sheep were eaten by the wolf but the mischievous boy survived. The moral of this story is: nobody believes a liar after they learn his character… even when he is telling the truth!.
It's easy to understand that if someone who may not know you well questions whether you are telling the truth… once they do get to know you as someone who consistently keeps their word… you will eventually be counted trustworthy. It stands to reason they will grow to trust someone who is consistently truthful with things great and small. It would not surprise us that these individuals will be approached in times of need for honest, unbiased and sincere counsel.
How did they obtain this good name in their circle of acquaintance?
They told the truth to their own harm. They were honest with those to whom they were accountable. They kept their word when they gave it from the very small matters to the greatest. They quickly returned things they had borrowed. They were consistent in maintaining the integrity they claimed to believe in. When they failed (as all men do) they repented openly to those who may have been damaged by their shortcoming.
We are all messengers of some sort. Some cry wolf, wolf while others speak truth. Our greatest privilege is to bring the good news of truth to the world. We are messengers for Christ.
The boy in the wolf, wolf, story was not a good example unless you want to say he was a good example of a bad example… Here’s a better one.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”