In Proverbs 26:1, Solomon writes, “Like snow in winter and like rain in time of harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool.” As you ponder the meaning of this proverb, let me share with you the aftermath of a volatile “Front Range Phenomenon.” Denver and the surrounding areas gets more than its share of hailstorms. Nolan Doesken, state climatologist and Colorado State professor, reveals that “Colorado is one of the most hail-prone states in the U.S….destructive hail occurs most frequently on the western Great Plains” (www.cocorahs.org). Anecdotally, a new roof sitting on my house is testimony to its destructiveness. Last night’s storm was exceptional, even for Denver. The hail and accompanying heavy rain and high winds caused flash fooding, but the hail itself looked more like a snowstorm. Just southeast of the church building, there is accumulation up to six inches. Just southwest of the church building, there are similar piles the likes of which longtime locals have never seen. It looks for everything, in spots, like snow in summer.
It at least helps me appreciate how strange the sight of snow in summer is. Growing up in south Georgia, snow in winter was almost as strange! In this pithy poetry, Solomon is making a powerful point with the imagery of summer snow and harvest-time rain. Some things do not go together. Spiritually, a fool and honor are incongruous. How fitted that is for contemporary circumstances.
In an age of reality TV, spawning garish characters shamelessly spilling every sordid secret and tawdry turn of events, we see foolish, dishonorable behavior. In a time when people parade their sin rather than hide it in shame, we see foolish, dishonorable behavior. Politicians, professional athletes, people in positions of responsibility (school teachers, civic leaders, preachers, corporate executives, et al), and others betray the public trust. When they do, it is truly like snow in summer.
Influence is a precious commodity with which all of us are equally supplied. What we do with it is very individual and personal. We can be fitted for honor if we are good stewards of it, but how difficult it is to attain it when we act like a fool. It’s like snow in the summertime.