The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4
Once again, Proverbs points to the importance of humility before our God and “fear” or reverence in our relationship with God. These are not characteristics that our world honors or rewards. Yet the life of the faithful should be steeped in this posture, this attitude toward our God and toward others. Such a life is rich in ways that the world will never understand. May we seek the riches that only come from God’s mercy and peace.
Prayer - Dear Holy One, I begin this day bowing before you. Help me to humbly put others first, and to remain in awe of your love as I go through this day. Amen.
Written by Stacy Ikard, Senior Associate Pastor at WHPC
Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. Proverbs 22:6
The movie Footloose tells the story of a small town where dancing is forbidden. Of course, the teenagers rebel—led by a new kid from big-city Chicago—and plan to hold prom in a barn outside the town limits. The local pastor, whose daughter is also one of the ringleaders, opposes the plan on moral grounds at first. But slowly, he comes around. From the pulpit, the pastor explains his struggle as a parent—and hints at a change of heart. “Do I hold on, or do I trust you to yourselves—let go—and hope that you’ve understood at least some of my lessons? If we don’t start trusting our children, how will they ever become trustworthy?” The question hangs in the air, but the answer is clear.
I believe that this proverb is saying something similar. Parents try to “raise ‘em right.” However, children are free to act on their parents’ lessons or not. Sometimes, all parents can do in light of this fact is to trust and let go. To be more specific, as people of faith, in times of trouble we can trust God and surrender our children—and any of our loved ones—to God’s keeping.
Prayer - Faithful God, may we always seek to nurture one another, especially children and young people, in truth and love. Help us to trust and let go when we need to, surrendering those we love to your wisdom and care. Though all of us, young and old, may sin and fall short, we know that your love catches us and lifts us back up. Amen.
Written by Claire Berry, Associate Pastor at WHPC
Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them. Proverbs 22:22–23
In ancient Israel, the materially poor would stand or sit at the gates to cities and beg for money (much like our busy corners in Austin). Apparently, some people were stealing what little goods or material they had from the poor, as well as trampling on those that were sick. When I read texts like this, it is easy for me to point the finger at others who might act in similar ways. How could they? I say to myself. Anytime I find myself using a text to examine how other people are living their lives, I have to do a quick re-direct and ask, what is this text saying to me? Where might my actions be contributing to the oppression of those that are materially poor? Do the clothes I buy come from workers who are paid a fair wage? Does the delicious summer fruit my family consumes come from a farm where the earth is treated well and those who work the farms have healthy work conditions?
Prayer - God of abundant mercy, help me to take time today, with the help of our Holy Spirit, to examine one area of my life. May I work towards ensuring that I am contributing toward the well-being of people and not the harming. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Emily Wright, Senior Pastor at WHPC
My child, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. Proverbs 23:15–16
It is good to know what is right. It is even better to do what is right. An ancient Chinese scholar said that the aim of the wise man is “learning that enters his ear, clings to his mind, spreads through his four limbs and manifests itself in his actions.” On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples that their “joy would be complete” when their words and deeds brought others to him. There can be no greater joy than seeing those you have taught speak out and act out what you have taught them.
Prayer - Lord, let me speak and act in ways that bring joy to the many teachers and mentors who have taught me what is right in your eyes. Amen.
Written by Bill Allaway, Deacon at WHPC
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise rebuke to a listening ear. Proverbs 25:11–12
What a striking image this proverb provides; one certainly would take notice of golden apples among a setting of silver. Similarly, wise and apt words tend to stand out in a cacophony. While gold earrings are more common than they were at the time this proverb was written, we still recognize how becoming they can be. So, too, is the ability to receive wise and honest feedback quite becoming. Wise words spoken at the right time are a precious commodity, and bring immeasurable value to those who are able to listen to and speak them.
Prayer - Holy Wisdom, Holy Word; may we seek the riches of honest and thoughtful speech and understand the value of listening to those wiser than us. Amen.
Written by Caitlin Parsons, Seminary Intern at WHPC