We spent four days talking about money from the book of Proverbs, but today’s passage has some things to say about it which we didn’t cover before. At the end of his life, Solomon had some further things to say about wealth. Just to summarize what we’ve learned before: Money isn't a bad thing, but it's a dangerous blessing. Also we need to keep in mind that while money is important, there are plenty of things which are more so. Here are some myths about money which today’s passage explodes:
First, a lot of people believe, either consciously or not, that money can bring satisfaction. They tend to think “If only I made a little bit more, I’d be happy.” Hogwash! Solomon--speaking from direct experience--flat out denies it, and you’d have to agree with him if you’re honest about it. If money is your primary objective, you’ll never have enough.
Related to that is the myth that money can solve every problem. We tend to think this pretty frequently-- in government, in the church, and in the business sector. Many politicians are guilty of this fallacy, and think that any problem can be solved by throwing money at it. Of course business leaders tend to see only in terms of profits and losses. But of course pastors aren’t guilty of this, are they? Please. Show me a pastor who thinks he’s getting enough out of the offering baskets. As vs. 11 shows, bringing in more wealth also brings in problems that weren’t there before.
Let me clarify a statement I just made. None of this is an excuse not to give to the Lord’s work. I’m all in favor of giving generously. But I’d submit that most of the time, a church’s problems run deeper than a lack of funding, and so they won’t be solved with more income. Pastors (not mine, thank God) tend to treat the symptom instead of the disease.
Another myth is that money can bring peace of mind. I actually think that this is behind a lot of greed, quite frankly. It’s not that we necessarily want a mansion to live in or expensive cars to drive. We want to be secure. We want to know that if hard times come, we’ll be OK.
Again, some clarification is in order. As I mentioned before, I’m not against setting up savings accounts, not even “nest eggs” which are set aside for a “rainy day.” But where is your security? Are you trusting in your own resources, or are you trusting in your Father to provide for you? Solomon presents a stark contrast in vss. 12-14. On one hand you have a “laboring man,” a blue-collar worker who probably lives paycheck-to-paycheck, and at night his rest is sweet. On the other hand you have a rich man who'd kill someone in order to get that state of contentment that his poor counterpart has. In the end, he hoarded his money to his own hurt. And worst of all, he completely neglected the eternal perspective. Job knew this, and we have to remember it too: We came into this world naked, and we’re exiting it the same way. And if money has been your god, all that effort will be for nothing.
So what’s the proper perspective? Verses 18-20 straight out tell us. It's one thing to have a lot of material blessings in life, and it's quite another to be able to enjoy them and find satisfaction in life. Lots of people have the former without the latter, and the latter is a gift only the Lord can give. Money can buy lots of things, but it can’t buy satisfaction. Whether you’re dining on prime rib or Ramen noodles, you can be satisfied with what you have. And that’s something that a lot of multi-millionaires would love to possess.
I think it all starts with developing your relationship with him. And make sure to focus on what he’s given you, with a profound sense of gratitude. That’s how to avoid the money trap.
Father, you’ve been so good to me. You’re so quick to bless. Please please please take away anything that comes between me and you. Yes, I mean that.