Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 17 Part 3
Don't Be A Dolt!
When It Comes To Money
This is part three of our series of devotions from Proverbs 17 and today we are looking at the always controversial subject of money. Is it okay for followers of Christ to be rich? Is it okay to have nice things? Is it okay to want to work hard and make more money? These are all questions I have personally wrestled with in my journey with Christ and thankfully, Proverbs 17 provides us with some clear advice regarding our pocket books. In this devotional, I will share five quick observations with you about money and its role in our obedience to God from Proverbs 17.
#1 - Hard work is nothing to be ashamed of. A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son and share an inheritance among brothers. -Proverbs 17:2 (CSB) Here we see that the prudent servant will share in the inheritance before the disgraced son. This is one of many verses throughout the Proverbs and scriptures as a whole that encourages us to be people who work. There is no place for retirement (as most Americans would define it) in the Biblical worldview. We must work unto the Lord in all that we do. Work is good as long as we remember that it is not God.
#2 - Money is powerful, how will you use it? A bribe seems like a magic stone to its owner; wherever he turns, he succeeds. - Proverbs 17:8 (CSB) We all know that the one with money tends to have the power. As an American I must be aware that I am rich. I may not feel rich when I compare myself with other Americans, but in global terms I am in the top 10% wealthiest on the planet. That is a sobering and wild thought. The question is how will I use it? Will I seek to buy the latest phone and keep up with those around me? Or will I invest my money in important Kingdom work and share with the less fortunate around me and throughout the world? The choice is mine. The choice is yours. Money carries with it power and we all get to decide how and for whom we will use that power.
#3 - Wisdom is worth more than money.Why does a fool have money in his hand with no intention of buying wisdom? - Proverbs 17:16 (CSB) We’ve all seen the lottery winner who blows it all. Without wisdom money just makes you a dangerous fool. If you want to improve your quality of life and the impact you make on others, search for wisdom instead of money. The one who has wisdom without money will be far better off than the foolish rich man in the end.
#4 - Dave Ramsey would be proud.One without sense enters an agreement and puts up security for his friend. - Proverbs 17:18 (CSB) Long before Financial Peace University, Proverbs 17 told us not to cosign on a loan for our family and friends. It never works out well and as Dave Ramsey says it makes Thanksgiving dinner taste different when the person across the table owes you money. I know you are trying to help by cosigning with someone you love, but the best way to love somebody is to tell them the truth when they can’t afford something. Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford and don’t aid others in buying stuff they can’t afford. Just because the bank will loan you the money doesn’t mean you should take the money.The wise have the self control necessary to live within their means while fools look for shortcuts to get what they can’t afford.
#5 - If you must be bought, be bought by Christ.A wicked person secretly takes a bribe to subvert the course of justice. - Proverbs 17:23 (CSB) Money has tainted many good men (and women). Don’t allow your principles and values to be bought. Turn down money that goes against your conscience. Why? Because if you are in Christ you have already been bought and there isn’t room for two masters.
Paul says it this way 1 Corinthians 6.19 Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CSB) Who bought us and how did they purchase us? The God of this universe who sent His Son to shed His holy blood as payment for our sins so that we could go from an enemy of God to a child of God. This was a high price and the result is that we are no longer our own. We do our bidding for Christ alone now. We can’t be bought by money, because we’ve already been bought by some thing infinitely better!
As I look at the scriptures as a whole and Proverbs 17 specifically, I am convinced that God isn’t all that concerned with how little or how much money we have in our bank accounts. It appears to me that money is just a tool - the important thing for us all to consider is how we use this tool. We can use it as an act of worship and the fruits of our spending will reflect our love of Jesus and love of others. On the other hand, we can use it for ourselves and the fruit of our spending will be broken relationships and a selfishness that reeks of arrogance. We can attempt to use people or even worse in the case of the prosperity gospel, God Himself for more money or we can use the money we have for the benefit of people and the God we serve. Don’t be a dolt. Choose wisely friends!