Sermon – February 24, 2019
Proverbs – Wisdom and Money (mp3)
Money is a touchy subject for many people. We are told the best things in life are free, which is often true, but the basic necessities of life often are not. Money is essential to life, even if it comes with many dangers and difficulties. Many of us struggle with money, regardless of how much money we make. Unsurprisingly, the Bible has much to say about how we think about, use, make, and esteem our money. Now, as we turn to proverbs again, let us try to think through how to best steward our money wisely. To gain true wealth, we must be:
It should come as no surprise that we consider wisdom necessary for a right handling of money, given that we are working through proverbs. But riches often follow in the wake of wise living, as many of the proverbs makes clear. And while this is true, we should always remember that wisdom herself is much more valuable than any of the riches we might receive from her. See Proverbs 3:13-16; 8:18-19.
If we are to be truly wise in our dealing with money, we must exalt God with our giving. Both Proverbs and Leviticus push us toward giving first to the Lord, and trusting him with the rest of our income. Why not just handle money well, and provide security through savings? Because such thinking misunderstands the security that we gain through such transactions, and underestimates the security of being in the will of God. Ultimately, God is our only security, therefore we ought to exalt him with our money. See Proverbs 3:5-10; 18:10-12; 22:1-4.
In all of the things that proverbs has to say about money, it has the most to say about laziness and sloth. Each of these proverbs is quite straight-forward, and needs little explanation: sloth and laziness decrease wealth. Activity and labor are the means by which God has appointed for us to gain the necessities of the world, not governments nor churches. These are good aids for those who can’t work, but are not the normal means that God has provided. Our rest is necessary, but let our lives be marked with activity before God. See Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4; 12:11; 13:4; 14:23; 19:15, 24; 20:13; 24:30-34; 26:15.
If we are to be truly wealthy, we must also be logical. Not economically logical, but we must use the logic of faith. This logic clearly states that we must not mistake the possession of money for the blessing of heaven. The wicked can be rich, and the righteous poor. Friends, do not give yourself over to the lie that those who are rich are blessed by God – for he has chosen the poor to be rich in faith and inheritors of his kingdom (James 2:5). See Proverbs 10:15-16; 11:4, 7, 28.
Just as we exalt God with our money, it is imperative that we trust him enough with our money to give it to others. This is part and parcel of our calling by God to love our neighbor – even the command to love him! Friend, be generous with the little that God has given you! See Proverbs 11:24-25; 14:20-21, 31; 19:17; 21:13; 28:22.
Lastly, let us be happy and content in the Lord. He has a great inheritance set aside for those who persevere in the faith. Let us be like Paul, who in being exalted or brought low, knew how to be content through the Lord Jesus Christ. Many people would say that the rich are those who don’t have to worry about money. If this is true, then be happy friend, for you are rich indeed in Christ! See Proverbs 10:22.