A proverb may be defined as a short familiar saying that expresses a supposed truth or moral lesson. Solomon, as a guide for moral practice, wrote the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. The Book of Proverbs has been a moral compass across the centuries. The origin of other proverbs is frequently a mystery. They simply are part of a surrounding culture and are considered worthy of remembering because of the lessons they teach.
Miss Sue taught a proverb of unknown origin to a Bible School team she led to Jamaica. The proverb had been set to music and was easy to remember. The children from the rural community where the team was working loved it. It quickly became incorporated into local conversation.
An NHIM construction team was working across the river from Miss Sue’s Bible School site. The community of Berrydale was separated from the main community by a river. There was no bridge in the area to connect Berrydale with essential services. Often high water isolated the residents for many days. NHIM was helping the people build a church and school on their side of the river so worship and education would not be interrupted.
The people of Berrydale came alongside the NHIM team to help in anyway they could. Our team ran out of time before the building project could be completed. A number of small jobs needed to be done before the people could move into the buildings. The NHIM project leader showed the locals how to finish these smaller projects in our absence. We committed to return in a few months and finish any work that was too difficult for the community to do.
When we returned, weeds and vines had grown up all around the buildings. It appeared that none of the work left to the community had been completed.
What happened? Why had they not finished their jobs? Miss Sue’s parable had been quickly integrated into the their conversation and pin-pointed the problem. Let me share the parable.
“Anybody could do
What everybody should do
All the good things
That nobody did!”
The parable has universal applications. So much essential work in building the Kingdom of God goes undone because of the truth expressed in this little parable. There are things that we should be doing to advance the cause of Christ. They remain undone simply because we just don’t get around to it. We are content to let somebody else do it. A word to the wise, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4: 17)