Tag Archives: money

Work Hard

Proverbs 28:19

“He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.” (KJV).
“Hard workers have plenty of food; playing around brings poverty.” (NLT).

Common Sense:

Sometimes when I’m reading my Bible I think, “Duh! That’s just common sense!” For example, there is a Proverb that says, “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (18:24). Of course – that makes total sense. If you’re not friendly – if you’re rough and gruff, rude and crude, you’re not going to attract many friends. But if you are friendly – loving, kind and patient – then you are going to make more friends. It’s so simple – how do we miss it?

Playing Around:

In today’s Proverb, Solomon wisely declares, “He that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.” What is a vain person? That word vain means empty, vain, idle or ethically worthless. Translation? If you’ll excuse my use of a common slang term: A lazy bum. If you hang around with vain, idle or lazy people – playing around – it will lead to poverty. How many times in this wisdom book have we discovered that we become like those we most closely associate with. Walk with the wise and you will become wise. Sit with the lazy, and it will lead to poverty and ruin.

I know of a man who has a hard time keeping a job. For whatever reason, he changes jobs multiple times a year. Whether he just gets bored, or doesn’t like the job anymore, I’m not sure. But it never fails, I keep hearing about how he’s quit his job and is looking for work. More often than not, he is between jobs. Not surprisingly, his son is exactly the same way. Can’t keep a job. Won’t keep a job. Often unemployed. Like father, sadly like son.

Working Hard:

On the other hand, those who till their land – and work hard – will have plenty of food. Those with a strong work ethic, their needs will be taken care of. When we work heartily as unto the Lord, God will bless that.

I got my first job at the age of 16 working at a McDonald’s. The fall after I graduated from high school, I got a job working at a Zellers store at the mall, and for the past 23 years, I have always had a job. There are always jobs available, if someone is willing to work! It might not always be the job you want, but if you want to work, someone is always hiring.

Lord, teach us the value of working hard, and being diligent stewards of all of the resources that you give to us. Help us to look to you as our provider, and trust you to meet all of our needs. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

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If I Were a Rich Man

Proverbs 28:11 

The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
Rich people may think they are wise, but a poor person with discernment can see right through them. (NLT)

Once again one of the richest men who ever lived is giving the rich a hammering. It seems likely that King Solomon would have encountered most of the richest people in his society, from home and abroad. The question is how many did he hold in high esteem? Not many it would seem if the number of proverbs criticizing the rich is taken as an indicator.

Why did Solomon think so badly of wealthy people? Actually, it is very easy to judge rich people. It seems that the media is constantly reporting on the tomfoolery of pop stars, movie stars, football (soccer) players, and other sports personalities, all of whom seem to have untold wealth when compared with the rest of the population. Most of us would say that it is also undeserved wealth, although in a way we have contributed to that wealth by purchasing music, watching movies, and by buying overpriced tickets for supposedly top-notch sports events.

The last time I took my two youngest children to a Premier League soccer match it cost me over £100 for tickets, travel, etc. I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with the performance of the players, although I always enjoy the atmosphere in the stadium. Sadly it seems that many of the young footballers in the UK Premier League are lacking in wisdom when not on the pitch, and wealth seems to play a huge part in this deficiency.

There are certain responsibilities attached to wealth, the most important being to use wealth wisely. Jesus spoke on the subject in the parable of the talents when surprisingly the servant who had been given the most demonstrated the greatest wisdom in his investments. There is a message in that parable for those of us who consider ourselves wealthy in spiritual terms. Such wealth is useless if it is not invested wisely. Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Where is your wealth and how wisely is it invested and used? And in what ways are you poor, and how does this affect your perception?


Protecting Assets

Proverbs 27:13

“Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.”
“Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.” (NLT)
Taking a Garment

The verse today relates to the previous.

There are many dangers which we must be constantly watching out for.

Whether in business (such as banks) or personal life, we have to make sure we are not being taken advantage of in some of our dealings.

For example, suppose you have a friend who is always helping others financially, and he always asks you for help with a promise to repay. Over time you learn that he never makes good on that promise.

To help in such matters, you can ask him for something valuable as a way of urging him to repay.

This item serves as a reminder of a debt that is owed.

Reminder of the Debt

This passage has little to do with spiritual matters, but there is another debt in our lives that a constant reminder.

In Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 we find a list of things called the 10 Commandments. In Romans (specifically chapter 5), Paul tells us that the Law, the 10 Commandments, was given as a reminder of our sin. It shows us how we fail to live up to loving God.

The Law shows us our debt.

Fortunately, our God has shown us grace and forgiveness. He paid our debt by sending His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to live a perfect, sinless life and die on a cross to pay the debt we could not pay.

To receive the full grace and forgiveness He has offered us, we need only believe that Jesus is God made flesh, paid for our sins on the cross, and rose again to life and now lives with the Father awaiting the time to return and redeem His faithful.

Heavenly Father, help us to be good stewards of what You have given us. We admit we are sinners in need of grace and forgiveness. Thank You for offering that grace and forgiveness through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Give us the faith we need to live in the light of that truth every day!


Money for Nothing

Proverbs 26:15 

The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.
A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. (NIV)

This is the third verse in a row in which Solomon focuses on the lazy, with one more to follow. For some reason Solomon is really hammering home the point about laziness. I simply can’t imagine a person so lazy that he is unable to lift food from a dish to his mouth, but the point being made here about laziness is that it is completely unacceptable.

Right now in the UK we have a government that is trying to deal with a culture of living on benefits that appears to have become the norm for a proportion of society. If you believe the politicians and the press we have families where more than one generation has never worked in this country. While there are obviously other reasons for unemployment than laziness, the fact remains that there are folk who are quite happy to sit back and live on handouts. Some even call these handouts their wages! That is quite an insult to those who have worked and paid taxes all their lives.

My third son James graduated from University in 2009. He decided to spend a year working to save money to add to what he had already saved so that he could take a masters degree. He got an invite to live with his eldest brother and his wife, and set about looking for work. Having worked two jobs while studying for his BA he thought that this would be a simple matter. It wasn’t. Recession had kicked in and there wasn’t much work around. He refused to claim benefits and carried on searching, doing jobs around the house to compensate his brother and sister-in-law for feeding him. It took a few weeks, but James found two part-time jobs. He had to leave those jobs to return to University but managed to start another job before he completed his masters. Now that impresses the pants off me, not just because James is my son, but because he has shown what is possible despite the dire condition of the economy. I am proud of my son for not choosing the path of laziness.


Birds and Money are the Same…

Proverbs 23:4-5

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for [riches] certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (KJV)

“Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” (NASB)

The Birds

In the movie Rio, Blu is a blue macaw with a human friend, Linda. Blu is the last male of his kind, and he is sought out by an ornithologist from Brazil, Túlio, who intends to take the bird back with him to save the species. Linda is convinced by Túlio to travel to Brazil with him and to take Blu to meet the other bird.

While they are there, Blu and the female macaw, Jewel, are bird-napped and sold to three men who are bird smugglers. The leader of the group plans to sell the birds for an insane price and therefore become rich.

RioA very long journey takes place to try and get back to Linda, and Blu and Jewel escape and everything turns out just fine. However, the thieves didn’t plan on their way of income literally flying away from them. After all, the birds were locked up in a cage!

The Verses

It’s like this movie was made for these verses! The thieves were so concerned with their wealth, they didn’t stop to consider losing it all even when they thought they were set and everything was working to their advantage.

When you have wealth, do not set your eyes on it and continue to weary yourself to get more. Money is losing its value at an alarming rate, and even the wind can carry it away if you are not careful.

Don’t forget that your wealth may just fly way. Instead, consider these verses:

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” -Matthew 6:19-21


Deceitful Riches

Proverbs 23:1-3

When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. (NIV)

The Wealthiest

Most if not all people who read this live in or were born in a so-called First World nation. These are the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations.

The standard need of the average citizen here – food, clothing, shelter, etcetera – is usually met.

In fact, today’s passage is probably more of a warning to you if you live in one of these nations, than it is a warning for someone from a Third World nation – a nation of extreme poverty and lack of advanced technology (though they usually have cell phones!) However, it is a warning for all people who have wants and desires.

The same old warning

Everyone wants their children to have a better life than they had … or at least a better life for themselves, so there is always a desire for better circumstances.

However, look at many lottery winners or those who receive large inheritances. They end up bankrupt and sometimes worse than before.

The reason is simple: they fall in love with MORE! They see how nice it is to always have food and things, and they simply want more.

Paul warned us through Timothy about this almost 2000 years ago, but also with advice:

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
1 Timothy 6:9-11

Gracious God, protect our hearts from a love of more of the things and money of this world. Rather, please give us a heart for righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and humility!


How to Get Ahead

Proverbs 22:29

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean [men].”
“Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” – ESV
Victims

True victims should be pitied and cared for; those with a victim attitude should not. Oh, we should care, sure, but there comes a point when people need to quit blaming their lack of progress on others.

I know what it is like to lose everything. I know what it is like to go from making good money to having to work multiple jobs just to feed my family. But many will not lift a finger for themselves, while all along condemning those who have worked for what they have. They live as victims of their own laziness.

Just the other day I overheard a conversation a manager was having with an employee. The manager tried to encourage the employee to seek a better position in the company, but the employee would not accept. The reason she gave was that if she moved into a better paying position she would lose some of her welfare benefits. She would rather live on what was given to her than work for anything.

Victors

Look at the working man. Look at what he is doing and how he is doing it. He is diligent, which means he does the best he can as promptly as he can. He cares about his work, no matter what that work is.

There once was a waiter at  a particular restaurant. One day the restaurant changed their menu and began offering Pepsi instead of Coca-Cola. When a customer was saddened by the change, the waiter went around the corner to a convenience store, bought a Coke, and brought it to the table. He was diligent in his business.

Not long after the Pepsi/Coke incident we discovered the waiter had left the restaurant! When we asked where he went we were informed he had been promoted – to manage his own restaurant!

Visible

When a person wants to get ahead in life, the last thing he needs is to be invisible.  Look at the man who does his best and works hard – look at the man who hones his skills and fine-tunes his gifts – and you will find a man who gets noticed.

If you want to be considered worthy to stand in the presence of kings, do work that is worthy to be noticed by kings.

Don’t be a victim – be a victor! You will get noticed.