The Slave From Syria

road-signGod looks at the clean hands, not the full ones.” These are the words of Publilius, a Latin writer who  was born in 85 BC and was a contemporary of Cicero. His beginnings were rather humble in that he made the trip from Syria to Italy as a slave. Due to his quick wit, and abundant talent, he won the favor of his Italian master who educated him and then gave him his freedom.

 Publilius is credited with saying: “Etiam capillus unus habet umbram” which is a Latin phrase that means: “Even one hair has a shadow.”

Every thought that you think and every deed that you do is like a strand of hair. It has a shadow or consequence, and each follicle can be as diabolical as it is delightful.

When  Solomon wrote the Proverbs, he focused on the evil and regal motives of the heart and the consequences of both:  “The wicked,” said Solomon,  “will be snared by their own wrongdoing. Their flaws will tie their own hands, and they will be dragged through life by the cords of their sins (5:22 ~The Voice).”

Like Solomon, Paul knew a person would either live the live of the foolhardy or hardly be a fool. When Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome, he advised them to be know for their discretion, not their many transgressions: “Put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  (Romans 13:12 ~NIV).”

Paul continued this theme when he instructed Timothy to “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life (I Timothy 6:18-19~NIV).”

When you read the verses above, could you see the shadow of the good deeds?  Paul said the consequence of a good deed and a generous spirit is treasure or rewards in heaven.

The quote below is from an unknown source.  As you read it, think about the long shadow it casts on this discussion.   Notice the rhythm and flow of the consequences of your thoughts and your deeds.

Watch your thoughts, they become words;

Watch your words, they become actions;

Watch your actions, they become habits;

Watch your habits, they become character;

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

The Good Samaritan: Pay Day Some Day

Good SamaritanWhile I was doing a little reading last night, I found my way to Proverbs 19:17: “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lordand he will repay him for his deed (ESV).”  The Message provides this rendering of that verse:  “Mercy to the needy is a loan to God,and God pays back those loans in full.”

After reading this verse, a couple of questions came to my mind:

  • If God repays those who are generous to the poor, how does he reward those who are miserly?
  • Is this verse to be interpreted in just a physical sense or is their also a spiritual significance as in the poverty of the nonbeliever?

My musing led me to think about how this verse could be applied to the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10.  In this story a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed and left badly beaten.  This man was seen by three different individuals:

  • The thieves saw him and said:  “What’s yours is ours, so we’ll just take it.”
  • The priest saw him and said:  “What’s mine is mine, and I won’t share it.”
  • The Samaritan said:  “What’s mine is God’s, so I’ll bless you with it.”

Which of these three individuals embraced the principle of Proverbs 19:17? Which one of the them showed mercy, exhibited kindness, and manifested generosity?  How do you respond when you see someone in need?

Whoever is kind to the poor is lending to the Lord
    the benefit of his gift will return to him in abundance.

Proverbs 19:17 (ISV).