“The ransom of a man’s life [are] his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.”
A Wise Dad
One of the things I loved about my father was his ability to find the lighter side to any subject. He had the uncanny ability to find the faintest silver lining around the biggest, darkest cloud. That might explain why growing up poor wasn’t so bad.
Here are a few good examples of how my dad would look at things…
- When he saw a horribly ugly dog, he said, “Well, he’s got white teeth.”
- When he (and I) got hurt at work, he would say, “You haven’t worked until you shed some blood.“
- When we had to move into a house that had no running water, electricity or telephone, and the sky could be seen between the boards on the walls, he would say something like, “Hey! It’s almost like camping out!”
And when it came to being poor, my dad knew how to keep things in perspective. He would remind us that being rich wasn’t all fun and games, but worry and stress, too. “The more money you have, the more you have to watch your back,” he would say. “But when you ain’t got noth’n, you ain’t got noth’n to steal.”
A Wise Proverb
Today’s proverb is trying to tell us that wealth may not be a bad thing, but it does have some inherent risks. The more wealth you have, the more likely someone will want to take it. And, the more money one has, the more he has to spend to stay alive.
On the other hand, as the second part of the verse points out, those who have less are less likely to listen to an extortioner or be kidnapped for ransom. He is more likely to say, “Sorry, but you can’t get blood from a turnip.”
The ESV translates it this way, “The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.”
If there is anything else my dad would say, it would be this: “Be content with what you have, cause everybody’s got their own problems.” Don’t be so upset if you’re not wealthy; life for the rich may be a bed of roses, but with roses come a lot of thorns. That’s why the poor can sleep easier.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” – Philippians 4:11 KJV
“If you’ve got it, be thankful. If you ain’t got it, be glad.”