Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 3:27 & 28 (ESV)
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
Withhold Not Jesus
by Brad Chase
Jimmy is a manager at a local thriving business. He isn’t rolling in money, but he’s not hurting for it either. This is a man who has been smart with what he earns. He doesn’t live paycheck to paycheck and he doesn’t blow every penny he makes. Let’s call him, upper middle class. He gets a set salary, Benefits, purdium as needed and various bonuses from time to time.
Late in December, Jimmy is out finishing his Christmas shopping. The one time a year he feels it’s ok to spend lavishly. He goes to the toy department and buys his daughter a big fancy dollhouse and all the ecceries that go with it. A new barbie and a ken doll and even a pink convertible for her to drive to their neighbors house to play with her friends. The next stop is the cell phone shop. Where he gets his son a brand new phone, iPad, data plan, head phones and wireless speaker. His last stop before heading home is the jewelry store. Yes, he intends on spoiling his wife. He walks in and drops a small fortune on a beautiful necklace for his beautiful bride. Even with all this, Jimmy still has a bit of Christmas money left in his pocket. Money he had intended on spending to make people happy.
On the way to his car with arms full of bags, Jimmy sees Mr. Smith. A local homeless man who had fought for his country and lost everything during or as a result. This man had been drafted, deployed, blown up and sent back. Upon his return, his wife couldn’t live with the physical damage that was done, so she left. Mr. Smith deserved respect and honor, but was abandoned and homeless.
Jimmy sees the man before him and has 2 options. Number one, walk past and say nothing. Everyone else has done it today anyways. Jimmys time and money were precious. And the money that we earn is ours to do as we see fit. Or number 2. To be a blessing to a man who needs and deserves it.
With this story in mind, a few things Jesus teaches comes to mind. In verse 27 of today’s passage, we are told not to withhold what is good. In Luke 18 a man calls Jesus “Good Teacher” and Jesus responds with “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. - Luke 18:19. All good comes from God who IS good. Your time, your money, your family...etc. all the things we see as good. But what truly is good? How about the Gospel which literally means Good News. And if we are not to withhold what is good, we are not to withhold the Gospel.
The other thing comes from verse 28. See, in this verse we see an act of procrastination. The thought of “ yes, I have the ability to help. But I don’t want to right now.” In response, I think of Matthew 25:35-40 that seems to put a feeling of urgency in blessing those who need it or deserve it. Matthew 25:35-40 says..,
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'
40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.' - Matthew 25:35-40
I like to think the ending for the story presented to day is that Jimmy sets Mr. Smith up in a hotel for the night and invites him to Christmas dinner the next evening. That he intends to speak with his boss about setting this man up with some sort of job. And most of all. I’d like to think that all this is done saturated with Jesus. Now? Who can you give what is good and how can you give it to them today?