17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death.
19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;
rescue them, and you will have to do it again.
The Lord provides, but he also gives us the dignity of participating in his generosity. Do you see someone in need? Some would consider them an annoyance, but the wise are grateful for what the Lord has given them and eager to share it with others. The Lord’s reward is reason enough to be generous, but it is not the only reason. Gratitude is the antidote to pride and envy, and generosity is the antidote to greed. Do you find yourself thinking too often about what you have and what you deserve and what you want? Self-centeredness will only leave you restless; transfer those thoughts to someone else and you will find gratitude, generosity, and joy.
“Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” The world is full of consequences which are beyond the control of parents. If parents fail to prepare their children for life, by carefully subjecting them to the small unpleasantness of discipline, what will protect them from the misery of folly?
“A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.” Premature rescue can be as counterproductive as long delayed discipline. When foolishness has had too much time to grow, the only remedy is pain. But the fool takes care of this, bringing consequences on himself, he will only learn his lessons the hard way. This is the path he has chosen, and until he chooses to leave it, no interference will do him good.