Wealth and Wisdom (Word to the Wise)

How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver (Proverbs 16:13, NKJV). The value of wisdom above wealth is obvious to any and all mature people. The value of wisdom helps one make proper use of what is possessed. Unfortunately, there are an untold number of people who value material possessions to the point they are consumed in thinking about them. Whatever value there might be in material things, in comparison with godly wisdom it pales! How can it not pale? Wisdom is great, but godly wisdom is greater still! With godly wisdom one knows the direction of life and the destination after life is over. With godly wisdom one knows how to handle the nuances of life because the Lord has set the proper course for each of us. Yes, it is true, there are some circumstances in life where one may not know what to do, but none of those circumstances will pertain to how to live morally, because the saints know how to live. He lives for God. Wisdom and understanding is FAR better than material wealth.


#wealth, #wisdom, #words-to-the-wise

1-18-2016 Lottery Fever

After a few “winning” tickets have claimed prize money from millions who donated their ticket money out of their limited funds, it would be good to review what a Wise Man has said. “An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning Will not be blessed at the end” (Proverbs 20:21 NKJV). The faster we get it, the quicker it leaves. The list of “The Wealthiest People in America” seldom, if ever, includes a lottery winner! “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase” (Proverbs 13:11 NKJV). A good, steady job is worth more than dishonest gain. “Wealth makes many friends, But the poor is separated from his friend” (Proverbs 19:4 NKJV). Friends, relatives, riotous living, and “good causes” rain from the sky upon lottery winners, because many will help you spend what they don’t have! Truly, “riches are not forever” (Proverbs 27:24 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#dishonest, #lottery, #wealth

Do we take our clothes for granted?

Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them carts, according to the command of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. He gave to all of them, to each man, changes of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments.” (Genesis 45:21-22)

In case you’re not familiar with the idea, a sign of wealth throughout the Bible (including the New Testament) was the ability of an individual to give away clothing. Wardrobes weren’t cheap! Especially certain colors that were difficult to obtain. So when the Bible says that Joseph (a man who was familiar with special clothing), who happened to be second in command throughout the land of Egypt, showed kindness, but also great wealth, by sending his family home with new clothes, including five changes to the brother closest to his heart, I can’t help but wonder to myself if we (the majority of us in the western culture) take the blessing of our clothes for granted? Because in case you haven’t noticed, there’s probably more than one or two of us who can afford to give away five changes of clothes without our closet being any worse for the wear. And we don’t even have to be the second in command of any nation to do it!

#clothing, #taking-blessings-for-granted, #wealth, #western-culture

(#153) The Proverbs of Solomon 21:5-Hurry Up And Lose

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 21:5: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

Work, hard work, and plenty of it is the only way to true wealth. Though God could have Created “the heavens and the earth” instantaneously, He used 6 days to establish a work ethic for humankind (Genesis 1:1-2:3). His example established the principle of daily work, which He commanded in the Law of Moses: “”Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed” (Exodus 23:12); and in the Law of Christ: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). “Steadfast” and “immovable” are the characteristics of “steady” and “sure.” The Apostle Paul obeyed God’s work ethic to support his preaching of the Gospel: “For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). Other proverbs emphasize this principle: “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men” (Proverbs 22:29); “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, The lambs will provide your clothing, And the goats the price of a field; You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, For the food of your household, And the nourishment of your maidservants” (Proverbs 27:23-27).

The other side of this is found in the common phrase, “haste makes waste.” ALL shortcuts, fast tracks, or quick remedies will fail. There is no gambling game, lottery, raffle, pool, sweepstake, betting, or bookmaking that substitutes for diligent, daily, hard work, either in personal satisfaction or security. “An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning Will not be blessed at the end” (Proverbs 20:21). Second generation fortunes seldom survive; most lottery winners squander their monies; those on an unearned government dole can lose it on a whim; gamblers are generally just contributing their bets to someone else’s jackpot! No one has ever thought of a scheme that betters God’s principle of satisfying work! Solomon will later say: “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep” (Ecclesiastes 5:12). He then explains: “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart” (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20).

Keeping busy is the work of God which He rewards, but hastening to be rich will fail. Do you want to hurry up and lose?

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#betting, #bible-study, #daily, #diligent, #gambling, #god, #hard-work, #haste, #hasty-poverty, #labor, #lottery, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #raffle, #sweepstake, #toil, #unearned-government-dole, #wealth, #work

stop and smell the… lilac?

The human soul has this tendency toward discontentment. The status quo is not quite enough, no matter how great it may be. This concept is all over the book of Ecclesiastes–the diary of the man who, seemingly to us, had everything he could ever want at his fingertips–wisdom, wealth, power, sex, fame, influence. Yet, as you read his account, you discover one of the most miserable, unhappy, tormented individuals that ever lived. Seems that “everything” turned out to be “not enough.” So he drops these little hints throughout his thesis that man’s purpose is simply to enjoy the lot he’s been given. Why? It does no good to fantasize. As you’re walking past the lilac bush, it’d be an awful shame to waste the moment dreaming about roses.

What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires.
~ Ecclesiastes 6:9

#contentment, #ecclesiastes, #solomon, #stop-and-smell-the-roses, #wealth, #wisdom

(#133) The Proverbs of Solomon 18:10-11-Do You Have Social or Spiritual Security?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 18:10-11: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. 11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own esteem.”

Soon out of the Garden of Eden, “men began to call on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26); Abraham “built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8); David offered sacrifices and “blessed the people in the name of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 16:2), who repeated his confidence: “Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8); Jesus Christ was welcomed into Jerusalem with people saying: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Mark 11:9); and even today, Peter “commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 10:48). “The name of the LORD” has always been the authority figure for the Bible. David summarized its power when he sang: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2). The Israelites generally refused to flee to God, however, as Jesus lamented: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34). The Gospel of Jesus Christ reveals that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The tendency of mankind seems to be, when trouble arises, to hide behind “a high wall” of “wealth.”  This is forbidden in the New Testament. Jesus warned, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24). “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). It is sad, indeed, as an economy weakens, to see people flock to a “give-away government,” Lottery chances to be rich, or crime, trying to become rich quickly. Why flee to the security of “wealth,” when Wisdom has declared: “Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5). “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; The destruction of the poor is their poverty” (Proverbs 10:15).

With the uncertainty of money’s value, and the haughtiness of those who think they are rich, and seeing how economies can be sucked dry by covetous leeches, why flee to “wealth” for security, when “the name of the LORD” is always dependable? “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#baptism, #bible-study, #name-of-the-lord, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #riches, #security, #wealth, #wisdom

True Treasures

People place a great deal of value on material things. Owning things drives a lot of people to work long hours. It is simply not enough that we have food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8), we must also have houses, cars, cell phones, televisions, and such like. Some work more than the standard forty hours per week simply to be able to afford more possessions. Now having an abundance of material things is clearly not sinful except if it keeps you from putting God first in your life (Luke 18:18-25). If you are striving to obtain treasures, strive for those things that will last for eternity.

Strive therefore to obtain salvation. Paul in writing to Timothy tells us that he endured “all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10). Since salvation is in Christ then it is imperative that we know how to get into Christ. Galatians 3:27 tells us that we are “baptized into Christ.” John summed up these thoughts by writing “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). Salvation is eternal as long as we remain in Christ.

Strive also to remain a part of the church. Our saviour Jesus Christ died that the church might come into existence. Paul exhorted the Ephesian elders to “feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Scripture also tells us that Christ is the saviour of the body (Eph. 5:23) and that the body is the church (Col. 1:18). Time spent with the church is of far more value than time spent in the workplace.

Also of more value than material things is the hope of heaven. Everyone will die one day. A person may work their entire life in pursuit of material wealth yet at their death they will lose it all. If therefore there is nothing for us after this life does it not seem a waste to worry about earthly gain? Yet scripture tells us there is something awaiting us after this life is over. There is a place being prepared right now for those who are faithful to God (John 14:1-3). Heaven is a place of great comfort and joy. It is a place with no “death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4). How great it must be to live forever with God in that heavenly home.

Having material possessions is not sinful. Jesus didn’t say wealth would prevent a person from entering heaven, only that wealth would make it harder to get there (Luke 18:24). The man Job was a rich man by standards of his time yet God called him “a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8). Are you working to obtain material wealth? If so, make sure to acknowledge that God is the one who gives you the ability to do so (Eccl. 5:19) and be ready to help those in need (1 John 3:17).

In Christ, Steve Preston


#heaven, #materialism, #wealth