Daily Devotional LifeJourney Church (MCC)

Will You, or Won’t You?

March 8, 2012 • Category: Proverbs

Today’s scripture: Proverbs 3:21-35 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Ben Lamb):

It’s kind of tempting to start up an advice column for the etiquette-impaired. Nearly every answer could be a variation of “Read the book of Proverbs.” In some ways, it’s a checklist of good advice written in prose form.

Verse 27 of today’s reading symbolically smacked me on the kisser: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due…” How often has each of us done that? [Ben raises his own hand and hopes nobody notices.]

Most often, it seems that life’s not-so-smart actions are pretty obvious. You know, actions such as: rob a bank; vandalize the neighbor’s lawn, steal an airplane; that sort of stuff. But to me, there seems to be another type of action — or, rather inaction — that falls into the same category.

For sure, this idea of withholding good could mean not awarding a prize to person who won a contest. But, I believe it’s much more than that. Sometimes I pass up an opportunity to give someone an honest compliment because I feel too rushed or I’m grouchy. That seems to me to be an example of withholding good from someone. Even if I’m having a rotten day, innocent other folks shouldn’t suffer because of it.

When there are words of genuine comfort that I could give to someone going through a rough time, I believe I’ve been guilty once more of withholding good.

If I choose to gripe about something that really doesn’t matter, it seems to me that I’ve withheld good from the person on the other end of my rant: the good time that we could have shared being engaged in something productive. The act of enabling others to be on a path of self-destruction surely falls into the theme of Withholding Good. Sometimes, it’s a good thing to allow others to gently learn from their mistakes.

My all-too-often failure to thank God is perhaps the most glaring example of my willful decision to withhold good. God is good to me even though I haven’t done anything spectacular purely on my own merit. Whatever sort-of-decent things I may have accomplished in life are due to gifts or abilities that God had already given to me.

Thought for the day: Withholding good can an active choice, but it can sometimes be an act of omission. God, let me see the circumstances when I should not withhold good.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.

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