(Prov 28:3 NIV) A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
Continuing with Gleanings from the Proverbs we come to a theme I call being a Blessing. Solomon was in a position of prominence and prosperity. He was able to BE a blessing to many. Solomon could forgive debt, pardon the guilty, and show compassion on the less fortunate. However, his observation was that the poor, who appreciated the compassion often expressed towards them, did not show always show the same level of compassion towards others when they had the opportunity to do so. To get a clear picture of how Solomon characterized the often-treacherous behavior of the poor, you have to understand what he meant by the term “driving rain.” Driving (or sweeping) rain refers to a violent hasty shower of rain; which, instead of watering the seed, herbs, and plants, and causing them to grow (as moderate rain does), it actually washes away the very seed sown in the earth and some of the storms are so violent that they uproot and destroy full grown plants/crops. What could be used to bless (water) can also destroy. Likewise, the poor, who know what it’s like to be poor, should seek to BE a blessing to the even poorer, but at times they don’t. The same people who ask for compassion sometimes don’t show it towards others.
Jesus taught a parable that illustrates this point clearly in Matthew 18. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with compassion for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.” When the king who had forgiven the man’s debt found out about his behavior he was furious. The Bible goes on to say, “The angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.” Then Jesus went on to say, “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. Practice the Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember, everything is a seed. If you sow mercy, you will reap mercy. If you sow compassion, you will reap compassion. But if you sow hatred, discord, and unforgiveness, rest assured that you will also reap what you have sown.
2. Be a blessing with what you have. No matter how bad you think your situation is, rest assured that someone else has it worse. Just like the poor in this text could have been a blessing to the poorer, you can be a blessing to someone today. Do it!
3. Focus on someone else today. We all can stand to be a little less selfish. Make the time to focus on helping someone else today and you will be amazed at how satisfying BEING a blessing to others.