The setting of Proverbs 14:35, as with the Book of Proverbs, is within a monarchial society when the king’s word was the law of the land. A servant was ever conscious the whims of the king might suddenly turn against him should he disappoint his master. So it was with the butler and baker who disappointed Pharaoh and were providentially imprisoned with Joseph awaiting a sentence of death or deliverance (Genesis 40:1-4).
Christ illustrated the principle for today’s proverb in His Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). In this parable Christ is the master who entrusted three servants with the oversight of his riches while he went abroad for an extended stay (Mt. 25:14-15). The servants, each entrusted with “talents” [a monetary amount] based upon their abilities, were to invest their “talents” in their master’s absence, aware he would demand an accounting of all they had been given upon his return (Mt. 25:16-18). Two of the three servants received commendations for their investments and their reward was an increase in their responsibilities on their master’s behalf (Mt. 25:19-23). The third servant failed to invest the talent he had been given and was openly rebuked by the master. The unfaithful servant’s talent was taken from him and he was cast out of the master’s presence (Mt. 25:24-30).
For the sake of our application, let us set this proverb in the context of the 21st century and apply the principle to the relationship of the employer and employee.
Proverbs 14:35 – “The king’s favour [delight; pleasure; good will] is toward a wise [prudent; discreet] servant: but his wrath [anger; rage; fury] is against him that causeth shame [disappoints; deals shamefully].”
An employee who fulfills his obligation has the satisfaction of pay and, should he exceed his employer’s expectations, a commendation and reward for his effort. Such an employee is rare; however, it should be the case of those who bear Christ’s name—that our testimony at work earns both the trust and delight of our employer.
Sadly, the sorry state of America is that many employers search in vain for workers who are diligent in their work and give an honest day’s work for an honest wage. Too many enter the work force demanding wages that exceed their skills while provoking resentment from their employer. Such should never be said of God’s people.
May it be said of us which was said of Christ in His youth, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
Now, get to work!
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith