Prov. 23:4-5; 28:22, 25; 11:4; 11:24-25; 22:9
This’ll be the last day of talking about money for a while, so I thought it might behoove us to look at some proverbs which can help us keep our perspective. Again, context is the key. If all you read about wealth and poverty were the verses from yesterday, then you'll get a pretty skewed view of the subject. Based on the reading for today, here are some things to keep in mind:
• The same Solomon who warned against laziness--and told us how to become wealthier—also warns us about dangers from the other direction. He doesn’t--and the rest of the Bible certainly doesn’t--advocate putting your work first. We know from a few days ago that there are more important things than money, and here he warns us not to “wear yourselves out to get rich.” Just as there people who are prone to laziness, there are other folks who are prone to workaholism. If that describes you, keep in mind that it’s all going to be dust and ashes someday. As my former pastor once said, no one on their death bed ever regretted not spending more time in the office.
• Along with addiction to work, we also need to be on the lookout for stinginess. I mean, think about it: We as redeemed children of God ought to be the most generous with our money, right? We’ve been given so much in Christ, and that should spill out into the smallest details, like how much we tip the waitress. And according to this verse, stinginess is a recipe for poverty (cue the irony).
• If you’ve read the rest of the Bible (which I highly recommend), then you know that God’s word is replete with multiple warnings against greed, especially in the Gospels (e.g. here) and in Paul’s writings (e.g. here). Just wanted to point out that “Mr. Get-Off-Your-Rear-End-And-Get-To-Work” (otherwise known as King Solomon) also warns against it along with them.
• And why should we hold lightly on to our possessions? Well, one reason is noted in 11:4—On the “day of wrath,” which is coming for all of us, obviously you can’t buy your way out of it. Of course, none of us are really “righteous” when compared to God’s standards. But from an N. T. understanding, we know that we have a righteousness which is not our own, which is given to us. Christ Jesus is our righteousness, and we claim no other. But the main point is that we need to keep the eternal perspective when it comes to our possessions: It’s all going to be dust and ashes some day.
• Another reason to be generous? It will tend to come back upon you. Again, not 100% of the time, just like we’re not going to always be healthy by following God’s plan. But by proving that we have the right attitude towards our possessions, we’re showing to our Father that we can handle greater blessings. And of course the greatest "payback" we'll see isn't in this life, but in the next one from our Father.
Let me end here by reminding you of what type of Father we have. He’s quick to bless and loves to give good gifts to his children. But he’ll always give us what we need, not necessarily what we want. Just trust him, and the only way you can demonstrate that you do trust him is by doing things his way.
Father, every thing I have belongs to you, to use as you see fit. Please remind me of that, as often as I need it.