When one appears before great men, there is a wonderful Asian practice of coming with a gift. This can be construed as a bribe to some - but that is not how those in Asian culture view it. They view it as wise and right to bring a gift with you when you come to see someone - and - the greater the person, the more important the gift. Over the years I have had the privilege and honor to pastor several Chinese and Japanese Christians. One thing I have seen in their actions is that they will bring me a gift when they come to see me. For me this is a precious thing - and it is also humbling. Their gifts are never something casual or thoughtless. They always take the time to consider what I might enjoy - and they delight in giving it.
This proverb is trying to get us to see the value in being generous with others. We will never be the poorer for genuinely giving gifts of love and respect to others. We will also benefit from seeing the value of letting those in important positions know that we both respect them and value what they can contribute to our lives. This is why we read that this gift will both make room for us and bring us before great men.
An example of this was how the Queen of Sheba came before Solomon. She sought an audience with the king. When she came she brought a huge gift - involving spices, a special type of wood, and other very valuable items. She came with these things to receive Solomon's wisdom - and to see this great king of which she had heard. What is interesting is the practice of the noble men and women who receive such people who come with thoughtful gifts. Solomon first answered all her questions - leaving her breathless as she heard him and saw his court. But we read at the close of the passage that she left receiving more than she had given. The kings and rulers of the East were given to their liberality in response to the graciousness of others. The Queen of Sheba left with more than she gave. This is a type as well for us of how we come before God. We may come giving liberally - but we leave far wealthier than we came. We receive the graciousness of our Lord and King - and the level of blessing which He can grant. That, dear friends is amazing - but often that kind of display is reserved for those who first show respect, honor, and an open hand in how they give to the Lord of all. May our level of giving never hinder us from blessing, but release it gloriously into our lives.