In today’s scripture, Jeremiah prophesies about a young and foolish king, Jehoiakim, who taxed the people for Pharaoh’s tribute, forced people to work and refused to pay them, to build himself a palace. For such lack of integrity, God said, “Doom to this man! Nobody will shed tears over him … They’ll give him a donkey’s funeral, drag him out of the city and dump him.” (vs. 18-19)
Last year I sat among a group of entrepreneurs trying to build a new career. Several of the participants were in the building industry and spoke of how home and business owners frequently took advantage of them, such as withholding a final payment until it was convenient to cut a check, or not paying it at all. In one case, the customer ran out of funds for the project and for months divvied out payments to satisfy the debt. Because of these bad experiences, builders lose faith in people and some search for new ways to make a living.
The stories of the builders have similarities to the Jehoiakim story. The customers lacked integrity and were thinking only of their own pockets. God is a just God and expects everyone to be treated fairly. At the end of your life, would you want to risk having a donkey’s funeral and a permanent resting place in a dump?
Thank you, Lord, for the reminder to treat others as I wish to be treated. Amen.