“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.” (Proverbs 3:3-4 NLT)
Favor and a good reputation: both are things I desire to have in my interactions with others. Yet, something had come up at work where I was feared perhaps that wasn’t the case. Something which I worried could hurt my witness there as a Christ-follower.
One afternoon recently, I had phoned my mom and shared with her how I was feeling about all this. When I hung up, I just happened to open my One Year Bible to the beginning of Proverbs 3. And saw the verses from the top of this post speaking exactly to the issue at hand!
These verses come right before some more well-known ones also found in Proverbs 3:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV)
I know I must have read the beginning of Proverbs 3 many times as I searched for verses five and six. And always those were the ones that jumped out to comfort me from that section of the Bible. But not this time. This time was different.
This time it was the previously overlooked verses which spoke to me instead. Why was this? Was my need different this time around? I didn’t think so because Proverbs 3:5-6 had always helped me better understand a wide variety of issues before.
However, now it was the words “loyalty” and “kindness” followed up by the phrases “find favor” and “earn a good reputation” that grabbed my attention right from the beginning. These items never even let my eyes go any farther down the page to find the more well-loved verses of mine. Instead, I stopped and pondered what those words and phrases meant for me in my current dilemma.
For me, showing loyalty and kindness to others is something I try to cultivate in my relationships on a daily basis. I feel my personality helps me in this but also partly that I have allowed God to shape my character in these areas over the years as well. So for whatever reason, I resonated with those two words: loyalty and kindness.
Sometimes I know I can tend to hold on to things too long when I know it is actually time to let them go. Or I can give too much grace when I sense there is a need to speak some hard truth instead. My strengths can be also be areas of weakness at times. Yet, God redeems them even still.
Other translations of Proverbs 3:3-4 uses the words “love” and “faithfulness” which don’t pack the same punch for me. But as I looked at these verses further in the New Living Translation, I realized in my job I had shown myself to be a loyal and kind person over the years. I hadn’t been doing this to further any kind of agenda, but because I felt it was the right thing to do and because I had “written them deep within my heart.”
However, I realized that, according to this passage, the two character traits of loyalty and kindness which I have displayed over time might help me out right now – even though this hadn’t been my motivation at all. I just wanted so much to be thought well of at work (to have earned a good reputation) and also to have a desirable outcome in my current situation with my employers (to find favor with them). And through theses verses from Proverbs 3, I felt God telling me everything would be all right. And it was!
Thanks God, for giving me what I needed when I needed it. I can see Your hand in it all, both in the formative years beforehand and in the anxious days leading up to a favorable conclusion. So thank you for preparing me in advance to face my current situation and also for giving me Your wisdom to guide me through in a manner that glorified You. I hope I can use this issue to bolster my faith about how Your hand guides my life in future situations as well. May I never forget Your faithfulness to me.
**I’m linking up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart today. Click on the image below to find other great posts in the linkup too.**