Tag Archives: wealth

“Everybody’s Got Problems”

Proverbs 13:8

“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.”

Be Content

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.” 

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It’s All In God’s Hands

Proverbs 11:28

He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

It Isn’t Ours

I have been self-employed for the last twenty years. Income in 1992 when I started out was modest, but I believe that over the years God has blessed the business and blessed my family. In turn I have tried to bless others. I have not amassed cash to any extent, other than making provision to eventually pay off the mortgage on the family home through endowment policies and savings. I would not say I have trusted in my financial assets, but I believe that I may have become increasingly complacent, and forgotten one small detail: None of it belongs to me.

A Reminder

Whatever we have on earth we have because God allows us to have it. Over the last three years my income has fallen and it has become increasingly difficult to get paid. While prayers have been answered I have had to dip deeply into savings as it takes longer and longer to receive payment for invoices. I have also had to review my giving. While that has been difficult I have been reminded that it was never mine in the first place. God has challenged me about becoming proud about what I have given.

Temporary Benefit

We cannot and must not rely on or trust in the temporary benefits associated with worldly wealth. We leave the world in the same way that we arrive. Empty handed. Even if we are blessed with monetary riches, nothing can be considered permanent, as many a person who has fallen on hard times can testify. The challenge we face as human beings is to be wise in our choices, and wise in our use of everything God has placed into our hands. It doesn’t matter if the world considers us rich or poor in terms of possessions. What matters most is what God sees in us.

How to Flourish?

So how can we flourish? Jesus spoke about branches that flourish and those that do not. He said:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:1-8 NIV)


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.


What is my goal for wealth?

I have a goal. I have a plan. I have dreams. They involve money.

What does wisdom say about that?

  • What is my goal for wealth? I am overwhelmed with messages about wealth and retirement. They are everywhere I turn. Jesus says “Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (Luke 12:33-34)
  • Am I willing to wear myself out to get it? Trying to get wealthy will wear me out. There just enough hours in the day and there is always more to do.
  • Do I understand that wealth is fleeting? Jesus says “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
  • What is God’s goal? God’s goal for me is focus on Jesus and being a good citizen of the Kingdom of God. God wants me to love. God wants me to use my money to be generous to others.

“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich;
    restrain yourself!
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
    wealth sprouts wings
    and flies off into the wild blue yonder.” ~King Solomon

Source: Proverbs 23:4-5

This proverb does not condemn wealth; it warns against the pursuit of wealth. Ecclesiastes also warns about pursuit of wealth and its inability to satisfy (Eccl 5:10).

It describes two situations: In one, a person pursues wealth but never enjoys it or finds satisfaction (Eccl 4:7–8). In the second, someone loses all their wealth and is left with nothing (Eccl 5:13–17).

These verses warn against overwork for the sake of gaining riches. This speaks not against being industrious but against consuming oneself for money. Wise restraint in this area (as well as in what one eats at a banquet, vv. 1–2) is needed, especially in the present day when materialism drives many people to excessive workloads in order to accumulate more money.

The reason for this advice is that riches are temporary and unstable .The first part of 23:5 is literally, “If you cause your eyes to fly after it” (i.e., wealth). Ironically, flying after wealth results in wealth flying away like an eagle.

 

Money


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.


Your Name Is More Valuable

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1

Sales

I have had more than a few years of experience in the area of sales. I have, over the years, sold everything from credit card services to funeral pre-arrangements. Right now I sell for Aflac (the company with the Duck), and I hope to have a long relationship.

However, there have been times when I’ve been instructed by sales managers to do whatever it takes to close the deal. At one point one crook of a sales manager (I quit after this) told me, “After all, those people are not your friends.” I said, “Everyone is a potential friend.”

Sales can be a tough way to make a living – it’s actually hard on me right now – but some things are far more valuable than money.

Your Reputation

Some may think this is just a thing I say to gain trust, but it’s the honest-to-God truth. I tell people they can trust me because I have a reputation to protect.

Even though I could make a sale and make some money, what good would it do, in the long run, if word got out that I was untrustworthy? How would that affect my ministry? How would that affect my ability to lead a church, or share the gospel?

Oh, you don’t know how much I would love to open a few new accounts and pay my bills! I don’t want “great riches,” only enough to pay for necessities and a little more, plus enough to lay aside for later. “Tiny riches” would be fine with me!

But all the riches in the world are not worth ruining one’s name, especially when one’s name is associated with the Name above all names, Jesus Christ.

I’d rather have a good name that brings honor to His name than all the gold in the world.


Know-It-All’s Usually Don’t

Proverbs 13:7 stood out to me this morning.

“One man pretends to be rich but has nothing; another pretends to be poor but has great wealth.” – Proverbs 13:7 CSB

The obvious meaning has to do with tangible wealth. So often we see people who give the impression of being wealthy by the cars they drive, the clothes they wear, and the houses they live in. Yet, in many of those cases, the appearance of wealth is all they have.

Sadly, the same holds true with many who appear to be spiritual and wise. Everything on the appearance seems to point toward a godly life, one full of the Spirit and one that walks daily with the Lord. However, so often what we find once the bank account of the heart becomes public is that the spiritual wealth was only pretend – they had nothing.

One red flag to look for in both cases – tangible wealth and spiritual wealth – is how much the wealth is flaunted. So many times the most unassuming are the most wealthy.