Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 27:18
"He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit and he who cares for his master will be honored"
Solomon is pointing out the fundamental principle of prosperity and criticism and employment. Don't miss this principle. In fact, most people who mess up their lives and then wonder why they have a lousy life ignore this principle. You have to take care of the tree that you expect to eat fruit from. If you expect to eat fruit from a particular tree, then the tree expects that you will help it, nurture it, and not seek to destroy or criticize it. And unless you have been specifically given the job of pruning it, a tree does not appreciate a volunteer pruner or an unauthorized gasher.
In fact, I was talking with the girls at the dinner table one night during family devotions about his very principle. I showed them the verse in Mark 12:29-31 where Jesus declares what is the greatest commandment: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength. We talked about the fact that in whatever situation they find themselves, they are to ask the question: What would please God in this situation? If they can ask and answer that question in every situation, they will come out okay. God is the ultimate fruit provider. I also went on to point out that God is pleased when children realize the answer to that question until they move out of the home is: Whatever pleases your parents (unless your parents ask you to do something immoral). If you can just figure out who the proper God-given fruit tree is in a given situation and tend to it, then you will eat righteous fruit. If, however, you insist on criticizing the tree or damaging it or trying to take its place, then there will be little fruit for you.
This is the Hebrew word nasar, which means watch, guard, keep, or tend. The idea is that there is focused attention on the object or person. The person who is farming an orchard is constantly watching and tending to the trees; looking for ways to make them grow more; looking for enemies that will attack and hurt the trees; looking for ways to bring in a bigger crop. Notice that Solomon puts the wisdom of the gardener and farmer into everyday life. Do not bite the hand that feeds you. If you want more fruit from the tree, help the tree get bigger and keep the tree from being attacked.
How many teenagers want more privileges from their parents while they criticize, resist, and disobey their parents? It just doesn't work like that and in the unfortunate cases where parents are intimidated by their children into making it work this way, it is not the way the world will treat them. People with bad attitudes do not get more from those who they aim their bad attitudes at. It is a fact of life. If you want to get more freedom and more privileges and more trust from your parents, then start tending to them instead of resisting, criticizing, and disobeying.
The same can be said for boss and employee relationships. People in the workplace will often give derogatory nicknames to those who are getting ahead in the company. They are just goody-goody or apple polishers or worse. But what many don't notice is that bosses don't like rewarding those who don't tend to the fruit tree. Now unless the boss is asking you to do what is immoral or illegal, then what is wrong with making them look good, making them successful, moving the company forward? Nothing!!! But it will make you unpopular with the rebels in the workforce. But if you listen to them, you will not get much fruit from the tree.
Solomon states the principle straight-up when he says: He who cares for his master will be honored. In other words, that person will get ahead. The person who makes the boss successful will be given added value. This is the way the world works. The students who do what the professor wants get higher grades. The employees who do what the boss wants get the promotions and raises. The teens that act and talk the way their parents want have an easier time and get more privileges. The pastors who care for the people in their church gain more people and more respect.
Do not try and fight the stupid rebel's battle: I want "them" to give me more privileges, honor, and treasure because I am worth it; I am an independent thinker and I will not submit my independence and worth to make them successful. They should just realize how creative and wonderful and valuable I am even if I do not help them at all. And, in fact, they should realize that even if I destroy everything they stand for.
Let me tell you that is not the way the world works. Even when a prophet is right for rebelling against an unjust and immoral system, they usually kill him or her and venerate them two generations later. Don't volunteer to lead a crusade unless God calls you to it and it is obviously a righteous cause.
As a regular manner and custom of your life, the gardener who does a good job tending the garden has more to eat. The person who makes their boss, parents, or teachers more successful has more privileges and honor.