Category Archives: Money and Finances

Could You Handle It?

Proverbs 10:16

“The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.”

It’s Not About Money

There is a popular saying that has been around a long time. It goes, “Follow the money.” The idea is that if you want to know who’s behind something, or what’s at the root of something, then just follow the money trail – there you’ll find the answer.

But in reality, it’s not always just about money. Money is amoral. Money is neither good, nor evil. What people do with money has a lot to do with the heart of the person spending it.

It’s What You Do With It

Every once in a while a different translation can help to shed light on certain truths. You see, in verse sixteen it is not about the “labour” or the “fruit” as much as it is about the “righteous” and the “wicked.” Look at how the New Living Translation treats this passage…

The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin. – Proverbs 10:16 NLT

The point of this proverb is to highlight the differences between the righteous and the wicked. The difference is that the same money, the same labor, can bring life, or it can be used to dig deeper into sin, but it all comes down to choice. What a person does with their money; what a person works for each week; these are outward indicators of the heart.

Ask Yourself this Question

If wealth was dropped into your lap tomorrow, how would you handle it? If you were to become a millionaire tomorrow, would it be the end of you, or the beginning? Either way, don’t blame or give credit to the money. The state of your heart, right now, is what would determine the outcome.

Are you poor? Could you handle wealth? If not, then you may have issues that are worse than an empty bank account.

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Saving Words

Proverbs 10:14

“Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.”

A Penny Saved

I am not sure where the saying “A penny saved is a penny earned” originated. For the longest I was under the impression that Benjamin Franklin coined it (coined it – now that’s funny), but evidently it originated much earlier in the 17th century. That’s OK, though. Whoever “coined” the “penny saved” idiom, if not already dead, is probably too thrifty to sue over copyright infringement.

Nevertheless, the idea of the idiom is that not spending a penny is the same as saving a penny. And when you save a penny, you grow richer in pennies by the day. Too bad pennies aren’t even worth pennies any more. But I digress.

You may be wondering what saving pennies has to do with today’s verse. Well, like pennies, or dollars, or pounds, or whatever, a wise man knows not to use up all his words. He knows there is profit in saving his wisdom for the right time.

A Penny Wasted

Even though pennies are of little value these days, they do have some value. Save enough of them and you could eventually have some money on hand. The foolish man, however, fails to recognize how things add up, so he spends his words quicker than a child’s allowance in a game room.

This sorta reminds me of what my wife tells young children when they won’t stop talking. She says, “Don’t use up all your words.” Wisdom teaches us to use our words carefully, but a fool speaks until he’s proven bankrupt.

A penny saved is a penny earned, and a watched word is wisdom stored.

A Prayer

Lord, some of us love to talk. Help us to save our words instead of spending them all in one place. 


Gather Now!

Proverbs 10:5

“He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.”

Of Ants and Grasshoppers and Men

Many have heard of Aesop’s fable about an ant and a grasshopper. The grasshopper spends the summer having fun and not working. (My wife and I can understand that, as we both currently work in schools with summers off!) The ant works hard all summer saving up food for the winter months. When winter comes, the grasshopper is starving while the ant is thriving. Some versions show the message of grace by having the ant share some of its food with the grasshopper. (Darker versions only have the ant rebuking the grasshopper … who dies.)

The moral is that idleness and laziness can lead to ruin, but hard work pays off for tomorrow.

One of the problems of the so-called welfare state, in which the government covers most or all of individuals’ needs, is that many people become, well, lazy and dependent. This is the main reason most political conservatives distrust government programs which support people, such as prolonged unemployment benefits.

God’s Thoughts

One of my favorite passages from the Bible, Matthew 25,  includes the parables of the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats. They all have the same point: do not spend your time fooling around, but be prepared.

Sure, we are commanded to not worry about tomorrow, but the best way to not worry is to be prepared!

This is a good time to remind us all that these parables, and therefore today’s proverb, tell us that we cannot rest with an understanding that we are safe, that “I am saved!”

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, sure, but it came with a call: love others. A Christian’s salvation is evidenced by showing love to others; by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked; by weeping with the broken-hearted and healing the hurt; by seeking and reaching out to the lost; by preparing our hearts by drawing near to Him.

Great Lord, we thank You for having a plan for and saving us. Help us to not only prepare for our near future, to be good stewards of what You have given us, but also help us to prepare for eternity. Grow Your love in us, that we may love as You love.


Simple Warning

Proverbs 10:4

“He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.”

Warning Labels

They come on all kinds of things, from blow dryers to toasters, from heating pads to pillows – they are “warning labels”. They are put on these items to, well, warn us!

They are warning us to be cautious! They are warning us that we should not do something! And they are warning us that if we do something, then there will be consequences for our actions.

Solomon’s Warning

I am pretty sure that if Solomon could have, then he would have taken a small piece of scroll and taped it to this verse as a warning label for us. He is telling us that if we don’t work hard or if we are lazy, then there will be consequences for our actions! And those consequences will be that we will be poor.

It really is that simple – be diligent and have riches – be lazy and become poor.

As Christians, we should be the hardest working people that our bosses have working for them. No matter where we work, we should work at it with all our might. I Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”.

Conclusion

Poor or rich, the choice is yours! It is a choice that we must make every single day. The man who works hard at his profession or other duties will be rich, but the man who is a lazy, or sluggard, will be poor. It is up to you!

Lord, help us to make the choice every day to be diligent workers for not only our bosses, but for You! Help us in all we do, to do it for the glory of You!


Hungry for Grace

Proverbs 10:3

“The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.”

Unlike Matthew Henry, Charles Spurgeon, Shakespeare, or David Welford, I occasionally have a hard time with words. This is one of those times.

There is so much that can be said about this verse, Proverbs 10:3, but it really all comes down to a few observations.

First. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing…” (Proverbs 10:2). In order to better understand verse three, we can’t drag it far from verse two. There the idea is that money is worthless when it comes to buying life. Only righteousness delivers from death.

Second. A hungry soul cannot be satisfied with money, nor with anything else the wicked can produce. As a matter of fact, the only soul with any hope is the righteous one. “The LORD will not let the godly go hungry, but he refuses to satisfy the craving of the wicked” (Prov. 10:3 NLT).

Third. The wicked soul will always feel hungry. Some will even try to buy food for their soul, but God will only throw out their offer.

At this point I can’t help but remember the words of a Bruce Springsteen song, Hungry Heart. Remember these words?

“Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Everybody’s got a hungry heart
Lay down your money and you play your part
Everybody’s got a hungry heart.”

Grace. More than anything, it’s all about grace. God offers peace, rest, and nourishment for the soul that depends on Him. He doesn’t sell that peace, but offers it freely. If you try to buy it, He will just turn you away.

That reminds me of the words to another song…

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee…
Nothing in my hands I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling…”

Better Fruit

Proverbs 8:18-19

“Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.”
A Tear

As I was reaching up to type these words, I wiped a tear from the table in front of me. The odd thing about it was that I had to stop and think what it was. Evidently, it had been a while since I last saw one drop.

I am sure there will be more. And really, that’s a good thing.

Tears are valuable. They teach what happiness and indulgence never can. They teach us that we are weak, that we break, and that we are incapable of fixing everything, if anything.

They tell us we’re dependent on God. And really, that’s a good thing.

A Better Fruit

To many, a fallen tear on one’s table is nothing more than a drop of water. However, to the Christian, the one who loves Wisdom, it is a glistening jewel-like seed, the fruit of which far surpasses the earnings of any other investment.

The “durable riches and righteousness” of wisdom are far better than the rarest currencies on Earth. What grows from the tears of a humble heart cannot be purchased with all the money in the world.

“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.”

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. – Rev 21:4

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No Comparison

Proverbs 8:10-11 

“Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
Can’t Buy Me Love

I was only a tiny tike when the Beatles made girls scream and cry like someone was burning them with a hot iron. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even born when their music hit American shores. But the first thing that came to mind as I read these verses for today was a song that the Beatles recorded back in 1964, Can’t Buy Me Love.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

The song talks about money and all the things it can buy; everything, that is, except love. Love has to be given freely, or else it’s something else (like discussed in chapter 7). True love cannot be bought with even the most valuable stones or purest gold.

On the other hand, it is reported that after the Beatles became superstars, Paul McCartney thought it might have been better to rename Can’t Buy Me Love. When looking back on all the pleasures that money did bring he said, “It should have been ‘Can Buy Me Love.’ ” I guess if one’s definition of love is based on the world’s wisdom, anything’s for sale.

No Comparison

In verse eleven we read, “all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to [wisdom].” No matter how shiny or fulfilling, nothing compares. No matter how expensive, rare, or desirable, nothing compares to the value of wisdom.

Money can buy a lot of things, including a Proverbs 7 kind of “love.” The finest gold can open doors. Silver can put a house over your head. Rubies can even inspire others to stand in awe as you strut by. Yet, none of these can compare to wisdom.

We need to be careful what we seek in life. The things that seem most attractive may be things that fade away with time, or even lose value.  “Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.” – Ecclesiastes 7:12 NLT