Tag Archives: Poverty

Honored On a Box

Proverbs 13:18

“Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.”

Cracker Jack Boxes

Years ago I had a great sales manager, Dennis Vauvrunek.  He was great because he was a servant leader; because he was an encourager; and because he tried to bring out the best in his people.

Dennis knew that sales people are competitive by nature. So, in order to showcase the person with the highest numbers each week, he gave away an award – a box of Cracker Jacks.

Now, this was not just any box of Cracker Jacks, but one that had printed on the front the name of the winner and the dollar amount sold. It was amazing how much harder some of us would work when we though someone else might get the box. Sometimes getting that box was more important than a paycheck.

Honor and Reproof

The key to the success of the Cracker Jack box was the natural desire to be honored. The one who received it was considered the “best of the best”…a “go-getter,”…a winner.

But success in any field does not come by accident. Hours and hours of instruction, hands-on training, and learning from one’s mistakes were a prerequisite to being successful. The winners of Cracker Jack boxes were men and women who had been humble enough to accept reproof.

Poverty and Shame

Those who never accept instruction, much less reproof, are usually destined for poverty. Poverty and shame are the wages of pride.

When the industry I was in was active, I made really good money. But making a good living came as the result of dedicated, systematic, hard work. When I trained others to do what I did, I would show them exactly what was needed to be successful. All they had to do was follow my instructions. Those who didn’t went broke. Those who wouldn’t take advice never met their quotas. It didn’t take long before they were gone.

Your Name on a Box

Do you want to succeed in a particular area of life? Do you want to provide for yourself and your family? There is a price to pay. You must be humble.

1 Peter 5:5-6 – “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.

What kind of box do you want?

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Richly Blessed

Proverbs 10:22 

“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
Getting Rich

You can turn on the television any time of the day or night and hear things like…

  • “Call right now and I will send you a free brochure detailing how you can learn to give me money to learn how to become wealthy like me!”
  • “For a limited time only, you can receive my secret for success for only $199.95!”
  • “Sow a $1000 seed of faith into this ministry, and God promises to bless you ten-fold, show you favor, and magically replace the tires on your Buick.”

Then there are other commercials on television, along with ads of all kinds, that promote the “fun” of gambling…

  • “Somebody’s gonna win – it might as well be you!”
  • “If you love excitement and fun and joy and all that stuff, nothing beats the fun of thinking you may become a millionaire as soon as you scratch the silver stuff off a paper card!”

Everybody wants to “get rich quick.” Nobody wants to have to work for it. Everybody wants to get lucky in Vegas.

Going Broke

The sad truth is that so many people who become wealthy over night turn right around and lose it all. Many who become millionaires in an instant go bankrupt almost as fast. The result is depression, loss, rejection, desperation, and even suicide.

Jesus posed a question in Mark 8:36.  He asked, “What good is it to gain the whole world and still lose your own soul?” Even when you have it all, you can still be completely broke, even destitute.

Richly Blessed

Some of the happiest people in the world are the poorest. I have seen people in the poorest parts of eastern Europe who had more joy and peace than the richest millionaires in Hollywood or New York. The reason is that many of the poor were believers in Christ, and in Him they were blessed. They were rich in mercy and love. They had all they needed, and they were content with what God gave them.

On the other hand, I have known the rich who always wanted more and were never happy.  Their wealth added sorrow upon sorrow. They knew nothing of the “blessing of the LORD.”

Being richly blessed by God doesn’t always involve being wealthy, but it does include what money can’t buy – the ability to enjoy what one has without regret, or sorrow.

A Prayer

Jesus, thank your for your blessings. Help us to focus not on the passing wealth of this world, but the treasures laid up above. You know what is best for us, so help us to trust you. Remind us that seeking anything outside your plan will only result in added sorrow.


Topsy-Turvy Teaching

Proverbs 10:15

“The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.”

The Rich and the Poor

It seems to me that wealth needs poverty to exist. In Western terms I am not wealthy, but I am not poor. But in the eyes of the poor, wherever they live, I am a billionaire. Why? Because they do not have what I have, and may see no way to achieve such relative wealth. Is it right that what I have is made possible because someone else has less? How much is too much? What do I need to keep and what should I give away?

Wise Investments

Whatever we have been given, we need to make sure that we invest it wisely. In the parable of the talents Jesus taught about two servants who invested wisely and one who did not. Burying what we have in the ground is not wise, and does not create a strong city! However, Jesus also watched as a poor widow put everything she had into the offertory box. Was that the sensible thing to do? Did it destroy the widow? We don’t know. The only thing we do know is that Jesus saw more in the poor widow than he saw in those with greater wealth. Immediately before Jesus pointed out the widow to his disciples He heavily criticized the richer teachers of the law. Jesus said that these people ‘devoured the houses of widows.’ In other words the wealth of the teachers of the law relied on the poverty of the widow, for whom they did absolutely nothing.

Good to be Rich?

While most of us are never going to excessively rich in monetary terms, we can be rich in wisdom, knowledge, and in our relationship with God. These three things should govern how we manage whatever wealth we have received. But the point here is that whether we consider ourselves rich or poor it really doesn’t matter. We enter this world with nothing and we leave in the same way. Far more important is what we do with what God has given us while we reside on Earth. Whether we are good or bad, rich or poor, God is watching us. He sees and hears everything. But He also looks deep inside to the riches or poverty within. Jesus said:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 NIV)

Welcome to the topsy-turvy teaching of the Son of God. When we think we are rich, we are actually poor. But those who know they are poor have access to riches untold.


Don’t Be Lazy!

Proverbs 6:9-11

“How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.”

Lazy Quotes:

Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. ~Jules Renard

Benjamin Franklin put is this way:

“Laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said this about being lazy:

“So much attention is paid to the aggressive sins, such as violence and cruelty and greed with all their tragic effects, that too little attention is paid to the passive sins, such as apathy and laziness, which in the long run can have a more devastating effect.”

Enemies that Destroy:

Eleanor Roosevelt must have read the words of Solomon in chapter 6 of Proverbs when she wrote those words. In this chapter, Solomon is addressing three enemies that can have a devastating effect on a person financially, physically, morally, or spiritually:

  1. Unwise Financial Commitments (Proverbial ThoughtProverbs 6: 1-5)
  2. Laziness – Proverbs 6-11 (Proverbial ThoughtProverbs 6:6-8)
  3. Lust – Proverbs 20-35

When You Least Expect It

Verses 9 and 10 describe exactly who the lazy person is (a sluggard), while verse 11 explains what is going to happen to that person. While the sluggard is busy doing nothing – they become poor (thy poverty) and do not even realize it. I like the way verse 11 reads in the ESV – “and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”

A robber is not going to call you up and tell you that he is about ready to invade your home and take everything from you. No, he is going to sneak into your house at a time that you least expect. Solomon is basically warning those people who are lazy and love their sleep that before you know it, you are going to lose everything.

A Cause of Poverty

There are a lot of people that are poor simply because they won’t work. There is work available, but they prefer or choose not to know about it. This is what the Bible says about those people:

  • “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4 NIV).
  • “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty” (Proverbs 20:13 NKJV)
One Final Thought – They’re Looking
Regarding being lazy – if you are a Christ follower – don’t ever forget that the world is watching! They are watching to see how we act. They are watching to see how we play. They are watching to see how we live our lives and THEY ARE WATCHING TO SEE HOW WE WORK – DON’T BE LAZY!

Lord, please help your people not to be lazy. Help us to be worth our hire – to our employers and to You. Help us to strive to fulfill Ecclesiastes 9:10 – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…”


Class Warfare Is Unbiblical

The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all. – Proverbs 22:2

It’s a growing trend in American politics, and it’s common around the world. So many people want to play one class of people against another.

Yet, if we were to look to biblical principles for our guide (like the Founding Fathers in America did), we would see that the act of playing one group of people – particularly the poor against the rich – promotes the rebellion of man against his Sovereign God.

There will always be poor people – always. Even Jesus said so (Matt. 26:11).

There will always be people with more than someone else – always.

But God is the maker of them all.

Until we can come to terms with the truth of Proverbs 22:2, there will always be those who play the class-warfare card to their advantage, not ours.


Cruisin’

car-309544_1280Our old(est) suburban was purchased in 1994, which seems like a long time ago until you consider this particular vehicle was a 1977.  Yep, complete with the two-tone orange/beige paint job—it was known as “the rolling pumpkin” at the mechanic shop.  No computer, no electric windows, and someone even had enough sense of humor to install glass packs.  Man, you could hear me coming down a hill from a mile away!  It idled so loudly that one morning the sonic waves set of the alarm on the fancy car next to it in the high school parking lot. Continue reading


Am I Living in a Land of Impoverished Confusion?

Image result for life of meaning

What does Lady Wisdom say to me?

  • I’m living in confusion and impoverished by it. I should leave the land of confusion and begin to live. I have a choice. What will I decide?
  • I can have meaning in life. Jesus has given it to me. The gift is available to me. That is some very good news.
  • I should act like I have a life of meaning. Does what I do reflect the wisdom I have in my life? Can others see the meaning and feel it? Do I get it? Do others see it?

“Leave your impoverished confusion and live! Walk up the street to a life with meaning.” ~King Solomon |  Proverbs 9:6 (The Message Bible)

Wisdom and understanding is a God-given perception of the spiritual and meaning of God’s ways. It results in my having sound judgment and decision-making. In particular, it gives me the ability to discern spiritual truth and to apply it to my daily walk with Jesus.

Biblical wisdom refers to practical skills associated with understanding and living a successful life. Wisdom is often associated with trust in and fear of God (Deut 4:6; Prov 1:7).

Understanding God’s word. The New Testament presents Jesus as a teacher — a role often associated with the wise in the ancient world. This connection is apparent in Jesus’ use of parables to instruct — teaching methods also used by sages (see Prov 1:2–7).

When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? | Mark 6:2

There is far more to Jesus’ teaching than simply the adoption of wisdom forms  —  which prophets in Old Testament times also used to convey their message. The content of Jesus’ teaching is not constrained to wisdom by His use of parables. It is also prophetic. It is miraculous. It is priestly.

The teachings of Jesus convey the Way. They convey the Truth. They convey Life!