HONOR AND FOLLY
'As dead flies give perfume a bad smell,
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.'
Folly is practiced by fools. The book of Proverbs often contrasts the wise and fool as two opposites in a picture where the wise embraces the wisdom from God and the fool rejects It.
In Proverbs 12:15, the fool is described as a person who sees his/her own reasoning as the right way. A fool relies on human reasoning and constantly believes that he/she is right.
Ecclesiastes 10:1 says that a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. From such statement, it becomes clear that 'a little folly' can become heavier than wisdom and honor.
Notice that the verse does not say: ' a little folly outweighs a little bit of wisdom and a bit of honor'. On the contrary, the verse says that ' a little folly (just a little) outweighs wisdom and honor. No adjectives (such as 'little') is added in front of the terms 'wisdom' and 'honor'. This implies that ' a little folly' can overshadow the entire presence of wisdom and honor in one's life.
The term honor is commonly defined as 'showing respect and high esteem. The opposite is the term 'dishonor' which means ' showing disrespect, humiliation, degradation'. Honor brings rewards but dishonor limits the flow of rewards and has negative effects on one's life.
Throughout the Scriptures, 'Honor' is presented as an important principle that unleashes rewards upon those who practice it. Among the ten commandments, 'honoring our parents' is the only commandment attached to a promise of a long life (reference Exodus 20:10). In Proverbs 3:9-10, the Bible states that we will experience an overflow in life after honoring God with our wealth. In Matthew 10:40-42, Jesus emphasizes that there will be rewards for those who welcome his disciples,prophets and righteous. Paul, in Romans 12:10, encourages us to honor one another.
The term honor also refers to' giving weight or consideration towards God or people. When we honor God and people, we also give weight and consideration to, not only their persona, but also to their words and actions.
Let us read again Ecclesiastes 10:1:
'As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.'
As much as honor gives weight to whom we honor, a 'little folly' outweighs honor. Through folly, one can choose to dishonor their parents and consequently miss out on a promise of a long life. Through folly, one can choose to believe the popular reasoning that convinces people not to honor God with their wealth. Through folly, one will easily dishonor others.
The most astonishing part of Ecclesiastes 10:1 is this:
' A little folly ,that outweighs wisdom and honor, equates to a bad smell that dead flies gives to a perfume.'
Think of it for a moment:
' People who practice folly, will bury honor underground, and as a result, their lives will emulate a bad smell.
Many of the challenges that people face, are caused by buried honor through the practice of folly.
The practice of honor is one the most important key in unlocking rewards. Do not give 'folly' the power to make you miss out on the rewards that honor brings.