Proverbs 3:27-28 – “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. 28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”
The majority of those who follow my daily devotionals probably agree that we find ourselves living in a day of mediocrity and self-indulgence. A spirit of entitlement has taken hold of our society and demands much while contributing little; an attitude inflamed by politicians indulging the lust of the masses to maintain their power and position.
Sadly, the church is not exempt from the banal attitude of the undisciplined and self-centered. Living in the rut of mediocrity has become the practice of many Christians. Consider with me the challenge Solomon proposes to his son in Proverbs 3:27-28.
Proverbs 3:27 – “Withhold [keep back; refrain; deny] not good [favor; prosperity; best or better] from them to whom it is due [lit. a master or owner; lord; employer; husband], when it is in the power [might; strength] of thine hand [within your ability or grasp; means; possession] to do it [make; prepare; work; observe].”
A positive restatement of the opening phrase of this proverb can read: “Give your best!” The late evangelist, Dr. Bob Jones Sr. said, “It’s a sin to do less than your best!” Notice the context for this striving for excellence is particularly applicable to those who are in authority… “to whom it [good] is due.” Its application: When you are able, when it is in your power and grasp to give your best…do it!
We note in Proverbs 3:28 the proximity and timeliness for doing good and giving our best to another.
Proverbs 3:28 – “Say [speak; tell; promise] not unto thy neighbor [friend; companion; fellow-man], Go [Depart; walk away], and come again [return], and to morrow [another day] I will give [deliver; send]; when thou hast [exist; there is substance] it by thee.”
This proverb has many sweeping applications we would do well to consider; however, for the sake of our devotional I will consider two: The problem of procrastination and the challenge of sincerity.
Following the command in verse 27 for doing good when it is due is the challenge of not putting off an opportunity to fulfill an obligation or meet a commitment when it is within your ability to perform a task.
Several examples come to mind: 1) When you owe a debt and have the means to meet your obligation—pay your debt! 2) When you have dedicated yourself to a task—do what you have promised! 3) When you have promised to give or have committed to serve—fulfill your pledge!
Let’s be honest—many Christians are like society—halfhearted in their service and undisciplined in meeting obligations. It is appalling how many church members have ministry commitments, but are ill prepared for service, arriving intolerably late and walk away from obligations without regret. Too many put a priority on their time, talents and abilities, but are too often mediocre when it comes to giving the Lord, His church and others their best.
I close with an appropriate adage attributed to Aaron Burr, the third vice president of the United States best remembered for his infamous duel with fellow patriot, Alexander Hamilton. Burr said, “Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.”
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith