Use Your Wealth Wisely
Proverbs 19 SCC 11/8/15
Many wealthy people often handle their wealth poorly allowing it to warp their values and hurt their lives. Most people who are not considered wealthy can feel they are an exception—they can handle wealth if they had it. Many of God’s servants are in both camps. That is his prerogative. The fact is your financial station in life is one of the most important tests God places in your path. No matter your financial station can you both avoid greed for what you don’t have and pride for what you do have? Agur in Proverbs 30:8-9 writes, “…give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me. Lest I be full and deny you and say who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor and steal and take the name of my God in vain.”
The Bible Never Condemns Wealth
Wealth belongs to God (Psalm 24:1, 1 Corinthians 10:26). The material assets of the world, that God has created and foreordained to be developed by humans, are good (Genesis 1:31).
The Bible Never Condemns People for Being Wealthy
God places His wealth where He wishes (1 Samuel 2:7). Although the majority of the godly people in the Bible were not wealthy, some of the godliest people were. For example, Job ...was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil (Job 1:1). The next two verses describe his wealth ending with the statement that man was the greatest of all the men of the east. Here “greatest” clearly means having the greatest wealth. So we must conclude that personal wealth and righteousness are not mutually exclusive. There are others: Abraham was godly and wealthy, so were Joseph, David, Daniel, Boaz, Joseph of Arimathea, the Lydia of Acts 16:14, and the women of Luke 8:3.
The Bible Never Condemns People for Enjoying Wealth
Under the Law, one of the three tithes of their labor was to be consumed. God said, And you may spend the money for whatever your heart desires, for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household (Deuteronomy 14:26, see also Nehemiah 8:10 and Ecclesiastes 5:9). Paul added this perspective, For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude (1 Timothy 4:4). So it appears that God has no problem with His people enjoying the wealth He has given them. Here are some wisdom about poverty and wealth…
FOLLOW HONESTY EVEN IF IT LEADS TO POVERTY 19:1
The general idea here is that poverty is better than folly. Personal integrity even with poverty is far better than foolish perversion. Solomon says a fool may try to get rich by devious means but honesty is still a better policy even if it means going hungry. This is not poverty due to laziness or perpetual welfare. It is poverty associated with the commitment to integrity in one’s life. You will not be dishonest in order to get ahead. This is about character, which guarantees honesty when the circumstances could justify greed, stealing, or cheating to get ahead.
NB: God’s priority for you and me is character development rather than financial security. We often seem to reverse these. Solomon says wisdom applied to our character will not allow financial advancement at the cost of honesty and integrity.
PEOPLE MIGRATE TOWARD THE WEALTHY HOPING TO GAIN SOME WEALTH 19:4, 7
This proverb is making a simple comment of this reality in life. On the one hand wealth adds many friends. On the other hand former friends desert a poor man. The point is that while people run after the rich hoping to gain something they have, they will run from and avoid the poor out of fear that the poor might try to gain something from them. There is no added value one gains from the poor only the possibility of losing some of what one already has to them. This attitude displays the love of money that motivates us more than we are willing to admit.
NB: God never commands his people to seek financial security. God commands financial stewardship. Do not be guilty of not wanting to let go of what God has already given to you. It is easy to become possessive of that which God gives you forgetting that he gave it to you to steward. God gives your wealth to you. When you endeavor to hoard and keep what God has given to you, you grieve his heart. When you falsely believe you need more of it then you will attempt to gain from the wealth of others avoiding the responsibility to steward your own. Gaining instead of giving will justify your greed.
A GENEROUS GIVER WILL BE A POWERFUL INFLUENCE 19:6
People seek the friendship of influential people. The greatest giver will always be the leader in every situation. For example, Jesus Christ is the leader of the church because He is the greatest giver. The greatest financial giver on a Christian board of directors is leading the board meeting, no matter what his title. Unless ... there is a greater giver, like an excellent pastor or missionary who is giving more with his preaching, teaching, or pastoring, than the philanthropist is giving with his money. But this principle is true at all levels. In any community of people, stinginess limits our leadership capacity, and generosity increases our leadership capacity.
NB: Practice becoming a giver of all things, everything, rather than a hoarder of anything. You impact with what you give not what you keep. Use God as your model for this. God sent His only begotten Son. He gave him he did not keep him. Cast your bread of money, time and energy—all of the resources God has given you to steward. Don’t be so fearful of poverty that you refuse to risk anything beyond what you feel you can afford. The Bible says a great deal about stinginess and nothing suggests that you can be too generous. The greatest givers have the most powerful influence.
A FINANCIAL INHERITANCE IS NOT BETTER THAN HAVING A PRUDENT WIFE 19:14
This verse contrasts wealth that can be inherited, included possessions like a house, from a father, with a prudent wife who is from the Lord. A young man may receive such an inheritance by virtue of his being born into that family. A wife who is economical and judicious is from the lord. No amount of money can buy a happy marriage. When a marriage does turn out well, Solomon says one should credit God for that outcome. It may be referring to idea of fathers who selected wives for their sons and in Gods providence guiding fathers in the selection of their future daughters in law.
NB: Your wealth is a commodity that you trade in the marketplace. You can gain some or all of your wealth from an inheritance. But one’s marriage is not an article for trade. A quarrelsome wife can be annoying v 13, but a shrewd and discerning wife brings even greater gain. When this is the case one can surely say this is from the Lord. Instead of competing or arguing there is agreement and commitment to shared marriage and family goals. This just does not happen. When it does one should give God credit.
THE LORD WILL REWARD THOSE WHO GIVE TO THE POOR 19:17
The one who is gracious or kind to the poor is actually lending to the Lord and the Lord will repay or reward him for his deed. The poor are those who are weak or helpless and in poverty as a result. The promise of reward does not necessarily signify that the giver will get his money back if that is what he has given. The rewards in Proverbs are often associated with life and prosperity in general. Poverty giving is an investment God will reward. Generosity will invoke generosity. Giving to the poor is a consistent trait of godliness in both the Old and New Testaments.
NB: God never wants to see the poor neglected. We cannot eradicate poverty but we should provide for the poor among us. Biblically you always give to God when you give, not to people. You give to the poor, and to any other cause, because God wants you to and for no other reason. God sets the priorities for our giving. In this case, the Lord promises to return your investment to him.
LOYAL LOVE IS BETTER THAN WEALTH 19:22
Unfailing love is a virtue desired in all relationships. The bond of loyal love between people is significant for well-being. Friendship is based upon faithful words and deeds that preserve the integrity of the relationship. The kind of giving in this relationship is priceless. It follows then that one without loyal love in the friendship is a liar about that friendship. He or she is not faithful in words and deeds. He or she has no intention of bonding any deeper than what they can get out of the friendship not give to it. Solomon says that poverty is better than that character trait. The absence of loyal love is so despicable that poverty is preferred.
NB: We should never trade relationships for selfish interests. When we betray relationships we are worse than an infidel. Poverty is a condition of being destitute. Betraying relationships is worse than that. Beyond destitute is beyond reach. At least one can give something to a poor man to bring some relief for some time. The betrayer has taken away what could have been given—friendship and loyal love.
1. Make honesty more precious to you than your financial security.
2. Don’t make accumulating money a focus of your life.
3. Be more generous with your wealth than you have even been before.
4. Wealth management is a stewardship responsibility shared in marriage.
5. Give to the poor and destitute.
6. Don’t sacrifice relationships for only what you can get out of them.