The Reading: Proverbs 3:21-35
“The wise will inherit honour” (v.35) RSV
This week’s allotted portion of scripture comes from the fifth of the thirteen ‘lessons on wisdom’ which fill the first nine chapters of the book of Proverbs. They all start with the words “My son”, and follow with sage advice for earnest disciples.
The fifth ‘lesson’ has various unconnected words of wisdom, which are summed up with the words: “The wise will inherit honour, but fools get disgrace’ (v.35).
So far this week we have considered inheritance in terms of material wealth and also in terms of the Spirit (power to serve). Today we see another type of inheritance: honour! Wisdom does not seek honour and does not try to curry favour. Bur rather, wisdom seeks to serve others, to speak the truth in love, and to do the right thing. This way of living may or may not win friends, but it will always achieve respect and unless there are jealous and corrupt people who despise and abuse you, you will be honoured.
Mind you, Jesus warned us that there tends to be one place where we are not honoured, and that is home. People who know us, or who think they know us, are less inclined to give us honour. Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house” (Matt. 13:57). You may remember that he was unable to do many mighty works in Nazareth because of their unbelief.
However, normally honour follows a good and godly life. This is not only true of professing Christians (if they live up to their profession!), but also of all wise people. Martin Luther King, Billy Graham and Mother Theresa are examples of honoured Christians. But equally honoured are Nelson Mandela and (by some) Mahatma Gandhi.
Let us seek not so much to be honoured, as to live a life worthy of honour. Let us live with integrity and courage.
Thank you Lord for Jesus who is truly honoured throughout the world. May I, with courage, follow him. Amen.
1 What was Jesus’ experience in his home town?
2 What is the warning against popularity?