A Faithful Messenger
1. Solomon is speaking here of the value of one who is sent with a message or on a mission.
2. The word “messenger” means:
a. Ambassador; envoy; delegation; a person who is sent to represent another person or a nation.
b. The term is a little broader than our English word “messenger.”
c. It may involve a simple delivery of a message, but it also may involve the carrying out of a mission.
d. Thus, Solomon is speaking about those who are sent out for various purposes to accomplish the task(s) of the one who sends.
3. Thus, this proverb has application in countless situations.
a. It could apply to a teacher – one teaching God’s Word.
b. It could apply to a friend who is sent to deliver a message for another friend.
c. It could apply to one who is given a ministry to perform in the local church.
d. It could apply in the workplace – to a workman who is given various responsibilities to carry out for his boss or for the company.
4. The proverb is really about responsibility; for Solomon speaks not just of any messenger, but a FAITHFUL messenger.
a. Not every messenger is valuable for not every messenger is faithful.
b. Faithful: Reliable; faithful; to stand firm; to trustworthy; stable.
c. Not everyone sent to perform a task or a ministry is valuable, because not all are faithful. They are not all reliable.
d. Just because someone HAS a particular task, job, position, or ministry to perform, does not mean that they do a GOOD job at it.
e. Not every worker does a good job. Not all can be counted upon to get the job done.
f. Not every pastor sent to a local church faithfully delivers the message.
g. Not every Sunday school teacher sent to minister to a particular age group is faithful in preparing, studying, and praying for his or her students. Some are faithful; some aren’t.
h. Not every servant in any other ministry in the local church reliable and steadfast in their ministry.
i. Not every office or factory worker can be relied upon by the boss to carry out the task he was assigned.
j. It has been said many times that the two most important abilities are reliability and dependability.
k. This is the point of our proverb.
1. In this proverb Solomon is describing the value of a faithful messenger, but not from the perspective of the value of the job or task accomplished, but rather from the perspective of the one who sent the messenger to perform the task.
2. Every boss, every employer, every manager, every pastor, every leader of any sort can readily enter into what Solomon states here.
a. In the work world, it is not easy to find good, faithful, reliable workers.
b. In the local church, it is not easy to find good, faithful, reliable servants.
c. It’s usually pretty easy to find people who are qualified to DO the job… but it’s not so easy finding people who can do the job and will be faithful at it… reliable… trustworthy.
d. Work ethic, integrity, and stability are not as common in the world as they should be.
e. Everybody looks and sounds good on the job interview; but it sometimes takes a couple of years before their real work ethic, integrity, and stability are revealed.
f. They may be eminently qualified to perform the task, but are they reliable? Will they show up that day? Will they be late for the meeting? Will they procrastinate and put the work off until it’s too late? They may be able to do a great job, but is their home-life so unstable that it affects their work? Are they a scatterbrain? Are they disorganized? Do they try to pawn the work off on to someone else?
3. Solomon is looking at this issue from the perspective of the one who SENT them to do the job or to deliver the message.
A Faithful Messenger is Refreshing
1. The “cold of snow” probably does not refer to snowfall on the crops in harvest time.
a. Snow at harvest time in Israel would not be very likely.
b. That would not be refreshing to the harvester.
c. Actually, snow falling on the crops at harvest time could be disastrous. It could ruin the crop. The farmer would not find that very refreshing!
d. But the text says, the “cold of snow,” not the falling of snow.
e. The “cold of snow” more likely refers to the snow in the mountains that is brought down from the hills to those working in the fields in the form of ice cold water… or perhaps ice to cool down their drinks.
f. Others think the “cold of snow” refers to breezes that blow off the snow capped mountain and drag down cool mountain air to refresh those working in the hot sun below in the fields during the time of harvest.
g. Regardless of the exact meaning of the “cold of snow,” the point Solomon makes is that in time of harvest, when workers are hot and sweaty, coolness in any form (a cool drink or breeze) brings welcome relief and refreshment.
2. Solomon states that the faithful messenger (the one who delivers his message or performs his ministry) is REFRESHING to those who went him.
a. When the boss, (or manager, or leader) hears that the message he sent was actually sent faithfully and reliably, then he is refreshed.
b. When a pastor hears that a ministry is being faithful carried out, he is refreshed.
c. When a president hears that his ambassador faithfully carried out his mission overseas, he too is refreshed and relieved.
d. When a boss or manager sends someone to carry out an important task, he may be sweating it out like the men working the fields in the heat of the day.
e. The knowledge that the task was carried out faithfully is like a cool breeze to him… enabling him to rest a little easier.
1. Master: Lord; master; owner; proprietor; one who exercises authority over others.
a. The master here refers to the one who sent the ambassador or messenger.
b. He is the “boss” or the one who has authority.
c. The master is in charge, and ultimately the carrying out of the task at hand falls on his shoulders and is his responsibility even if he is not the one sent to actually perform the task.
d. If the master (boss; leader; etc.) has unfaithful servants it reflects poorly on him.
e. The master receives the blame if the job is not done. He carries the burden and the weight.
2. The SOUL of the master is refreshed when the one sent is faithful to his or her task.
a. Just as a cool breeze or a cool drink refreshes the body of one harvesting in hot weather, so too a faithful messenger refreshes the soul of the master who sends him on his mission.
b. Soul: Person; appetite; mind; living being; desire; emotion; passion; feeling; the inner life; the inner person as opposed to the outer person – the body.
c. A faithful messenger/ambassador is refreshing to the one who sends him and thus is VALUABLE for that very reason.
d. It is a refreshing relief to be able to send someone to do a task and KNOW that the job will be done… that it will be done well… and not have to worry about whether it will get done.
e. It lifts a load off the master’s shoulders to know that he doesn’t have to worry about that task. He has utmost confidence in the servant sent to carry out that duty.
3. Prov. 13:17 – Two different kinds of messengers contrasted.
a. A wicked messenger falls into mischief, and thus creates trouble for the one who was relying upon him to carry out his duty.
• If you hire a wicked or unfaithful messenger or servant, then you can expect trouble… regret… anxiety… discouragement… disappointment… etc.
• Prov. 10:26 – “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.”
• Prov. 25:19 – Confidence in an unfaithful man is like a broken tooth or a foot out of joint.
1. Solomon makes some powerful analogies here concerning a man who is not faithful in his duties.
2. He is like smoke in the eyes—irritating!
3. A broken tooth—try biting into an apple with a broken tooth… it is painful!
4. Try taking a step on a foot that is out of joint—it hurts.
5. Those who are sent to do a task and are unfaithful are like a foot out of joint. When the person walks, he expects his foot to work, but when it doesn’t work and is out of joint, it is painful to rely upon it!
6. Don’t BE that an unfaithful messenger… don’t HIRE an unreliable person… don’t place your TRUST in someone who is untrustworthy.
b. But a faithful ambassador is HEALTH… (Prov. 13:17)
• The Hebrew word translated “ambassador” is the same word translated “messenger” in Prov. 25:13.
• Health: A masculine noun indicating healing; peace, calmness. It refers to a state of security, stability, relaxation: A heart of peace is said to be a source of life for the body.
• The one who sends a faithful messenger will experience health; peace of mind and heart instead of worry and fear.
c. Faithful servants are valuable and are worth their weight in gold.
• However, they are rare.
• Prov. 20:6 – a faithful man who can find?
• If you can find one, they are “health” to your bones. They are refreshing as a cool drink in the heat of summer.
4. Consider YOUR ministry before the Lord.
a. In a sense, we are all messengers or ambassadors of the LORD.
b. He has given each of us a spiritual gift, a place in the Body, and a capacity to serve Him.
c. He has sent us into the world to represent Him and preach His gospel.
d. I Cor. 4:2 – It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.
e. When we are faithful to the ministry to which God has called us, then we are REFRESHING to the Lord!
f. God has feelings. He can be grieved. He can be disappointed. He can be hurt. But He can also rejoice and be refreshed when you and I are FAITHFUL to the tasks He sends us to perform.
g. We can be PLEASING to the Lord our God.