Journal Prov 17 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: “Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.” Prov 17:5

Observation: Solomon is tricky, phrasing such proverbs so that I can immediately think of someone else’s shortcomings…

Analysis: Proverbs is the easiest book to practice mirror looking; you know, preaching to the face in the mirror?

In most verses in Proverbs, the obvious questioning goes like this: “Am I like that? Do I do that? Who are you talking about, Willis?” (Dating myself)

In the beginning books of Proverbs, I might want to compare myself to a beginning seeker of wisdom…where perhaps I should explore how much of a fool I am.

I may not identify myself as a harlot or a seeker of harlotry, but really—in this day and age, with the media pushing what Solomon warns about—can I escape the plain temptations evident? Again, taking what Solomon says and looking in the mirror (over and over again) before looking at anyone else.

With that in mind, how many times do I mock or ridicule the poor? How glad or content am I about their calamity or plight? Do I think about they deserve their position in life or that they did that to themselves?

What about beggars? In the current economy, it seems that beggars, homelessness, etc., is rising every day. Do I ignore (tacitly mocking) the poor? Do I prejudge “whatever I give, will only go for booze (at the minimum) or drugs?” What about thinking, “I can’t believe that sign, they are lying.”

Easier to keep looking ahead at the light, ignoring the plea, and driving right on by, right? “The Holy Spirit will tell me if I need to do something” I rationalize. Funny how the circumstance is there to do something, and I need the Thunder from the skies to validate service…

I can write these things because they are what I struggle with, too.

I remember the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37)

  • A man is mugged and left for dead on the side of the road.
  • A priest found this guy and crossed the street to avoid him.
  • A teacher of the Law (a Levite) also found the mugged man and also crossed the road.
  • A Samaritan (not of the tribe of Israel) came upon the mugged man, rendered first aid, took him to an inn and set him up with lodgings for a couple of weeks or so AND covered all his expenses.

The Samaritan accommodated this guy to an extreme and is our example to shoot for. But did the Samaritan get to that point immediately?

Believers grow, I am convinced; that is what being Disciples are about. However, I must cultivate that in collaboration with the Holy Spirit (sanctification). So, how do I start?

  1. Fight hard about changing my mind about the poor.
  2. Make it more than a cliché that “there, but for the Grace of God, go I.” Remember the story of Job 1-3.
  3. Prepare to give in faith, casting bread upon the waters and such.

Personally (and don’t think I am always prepared), I try to keep about $20 in ones and fives in the car just to be able to give…and first by firm decision to do so in conviction of the Word, and then later (as I cultivate my heart) from a glad and joyful heart. Jesus said, “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want (make the decision), you can do good for them.” (Luke 10:7, c. also John 12:8)

Prayer: Father, it is the scriptures like this that cause my second, third and fourth reaction to be hanging my head in shame. My first reaction is “Oh, no, that isn’t me” just about every time.

Keep broadening my faithless heart to do good in your Name.


Ricky Two Shoes