The wise inherit a crown where the simple inherit folly. Both have an inheritance that fits their walk and their hearts.
My bible helps puts these verses together because of the 18th and 24th verses reference to crowns. I am leaving them grouped like this but I want to break out a couple of verses and look at two groupings instead of one. Verses 18-19 & 22-24 fit the inheritance theme where verses 20-21 are of a different theme. These two ‘sandwiched’ verses speak of our neighbors and the poor. I want to look at them first. Let’s see where the Spirit takes us today.
Verses 20-21 remind me of two different stories told by Jesus. The first is the prodigal son. When he left home with a LOT of money in his pocked he had more “friends” than he could count. Once his pockets were empty the “friends” left him. Their relationships were built on what he could provide to them. Both were invested in having a good time and nothing more. There was no depth to their relationship. Neither side really knew the other.
The second story I’m reminded of is the good Samaritan. This man had compassion on his “neighbor” even when his “neighbor probably wouldn’t have returned the feeling in kind. If the man who fell by the wayside had seen the Samaritan in trouble, would their roles have been reversed? Would he have helped the Samaritan? We will never know. But what we do see is that the Samaritan, without thought to what he would receive in return, gave of what he had. He had “mercy on the poor.” I would be willing to bet that when the “neighbor” recovered the two men had a bond that laid aside their nationalities. They got to know the other’s heart.
Giving to the poor is more than dropping a coin in a bucket by a man on the sidewalk. It is caring about the person. About their future. It’s looking deep enough to find their true need. And being willing to take it on as your own. Not everyone can do this on their own but there are MANY good agencies where you can partner with them to meet the needs of their specific population. My husband and I are affiliated with several such organizations. But I feel like the best “help” we have offered was when we stopped and talked to the people ‘begging on the sidewalk’ and asked what they really needed. Twice we have been able to supply those needs. We believe God led us to those ‘neighbors’ and we were willing to listen. Both parties were blessed.
Be cautious in enabling the ‘perpetually poor’ for their needs are NEVER satisfied. Some choose to remain in poverty and squander whatever they receive; expecting that more will be given when they run out. Some adopt begging as a lifestyle. And some constantly create their own ‘disasters’ so others will rescue them. The ‘perpetually poor’ have no intention of rising above their current circumstances. They live only for the moment. If you find yourself in such a ‘relationship’ seek God regarding it. He may say “End it”, “Stay for a bit longer”, or “This is what I have called you to do.” Whatever His instructions, FOLLOW THEM with all your heart. He will reward you for your heart. Which leads us to the other verses in our reading.
The prudent, those who do devise good, and those willing to put their hand to the work prosper. They ‘inherit a crown’ for their actions. Their actions are not a pretense but come from their heart. They have a sure relationship with God and are committed to following His ways. Regardless of what they receive on this earth, they will “inherit a crown” from the Lord. They are sons and daughters of the Most High.
Those who devise evil, act without considering the consequences of their action, and refuse to work will find disaster. They too have a reward waiting for them. If not today, then when God judges their lives. Their actions also speak of their heart. They are out for themselves alone. What work they do engage in is done to satisfy their own desires. They take no thought for those they have hurt, the poor, or their life beyond what they can amass.
This is NOT to say that those on this earth who have little financially are in this situation because they are “evil.” Many ‘poor in pocket’ are rich in spirit. They know where their help comes from and they trust Him to meet their needs. They are generous with what they do have, including willingly sharing the Lord with all who would ask. They don’t seek out fame and fortune at the expense of others. But they are willing to work at whatever opportunities God gives them. While willingly working on what He has provided, He is working on their spirit, increasing their hearts capacity for His further purposes. They have a sure inheritance.
Thank You Father God for giving me a sure inheritance. For preparing a place for me in Your home. I know I have many lessons along the way that I need to walk through. I FULLY trust You to bring me through them. Thank You for the opportunities You have provided for me to minister to others. Help me keep a right attitude regarding what You have provided for me. Don’t let things EVER become more important than You!