I found an interesting little piece of information in Proverbs 11. I have to admit that it sounds a little bit odd off the top, but if we think about it a little bit, I think that it makes quite a bit of sense.
Pro 11:26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
I thought this sounded odd. Why are we spending valuable time in the most important book in the world talking about produce sales? I think that we need to step back and take a look at the situation that is being described here.
Obviously, there is a demand for corn. We don’t know why. Perhaps there is a famine in the land, or perhaps where some other reason, but it seems that people want corn.
There are generally two responses in this situation. On one hand, we can withhold anything that we have. Perhaps there is a famine, and we are thinking about ourselves and providing for our own needs. Perhaps we hide everything that we have so that we can guarantee our own survival for years.
On the other hand, we can sell the product that we have. We can give people the opportunity to get what they need. We can satisfy the demand by making what we have available. Sure, we might not be stockpiling as much for ourselves, but the people around us will also be able to get some of what they need.
I think our response to this ought to be pretty clear. If we have something in excess, perhaps we ought to think about those around us. Maybe we ought to think about how we can use what we have been blessed with to help other people rather than to build up a stockpile for our own potential future needs.
I am definitely not trying to urge anyone to go out and irresponsibly burn your entire life savings. I think that this is more about what we are attached to. Are we so concerned about our own stuff that we can’t even see beyond our own situation? Do we not realize that there are needs that we are able to meet in the world around us? Are there any ways that we can be especially charitable right now?
Deuteronomy 22 tells us that we need to care for our neighbors and act with general courtesy. Sometimes, I feel like we miss out on this today.
Deu 22:1 Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
Deu 22:2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
It seems like common courtesy. If your friend loses something, you should bring it back to him. If you don’t know where it belongs, you should keep it in good condition until someone comes looking for it. Then, you should be willing to give it back.
It seems pretty simple, right?
Unfortunately, I think that we sometimes run into a more finders keepers mentality. I know that that’s a very elementary school statement, but when people find something, there are many times when there will not give it back.
In my mind, the best way to handle situations like this roll back to one of the most well-known Biblical passages in the world.
Luk 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
If you lost something, wouldn’t you want someone to bring it back? At the very least, wouldn’t you want someone to take your property in good order? And, if you ever found it at the other person’s house, wouldn’t you want them to give it back to you because it is rightfully yours?
I think that all of these answers are relatively self-evident, and I know that this is a pretty basic post. However, being a good neighbor and friend to all of those around us will help us live the way that God intended us to live with each other.