‘Good men are public blessings’

There is no such thing as piety that is only private. The following verse is from our public confession at church this morning:

“By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.” Proverbs 11:11 ESV

If the upright remain hidden behind closed doors in a life lived only in a small, safe sanitized haven, then of course the city is not exalted. Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this verse, says, “Good men are public blessings.” (emphasis mine) Henry mentions three ways in which this is true:

  • God blesses the Christian: “By the blessings with which they are blessed, which enlarge their sphere of usefulness.”
  • The Christian blesses the neighbor: “By the blessings with which they bless their neighbours, their advice, their example, their prayers, and all the instances of their serviceableness to the public interest.”
  • And God blesses the neighbor: “By the blessings with which God blesses others for their sake.”

The result? “The city is exalted and made more comfortable to the inhabitants, and more considerable among its neighbours.”

If Fort Wayne, “The City of Churches,” is not in some way “exalted,” the wicked are not the ones to blame. Fort Wayne Christians must encourage one another to be good to our city, by blessing our neighbors. And in return, God promises to exalt our city.

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