God’s LAW concerning TRUE RICHES & WEALTH
July 3 Bible Reading: Proverbs Chapters 13-15
"There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. The ransom of a man's life is his riches." (Prov. 13:7-8)
The above proverb from King Solomon comes right out the kind of teaching that a father might give to his son, and is a part of wisdom’s instruction on right living. Solomon now addresses the issue of materialism as he points out the hollowness of worldly riches as compared to true righteousness. There is a disparity of possessions between two individuals, but the point of this proverb appears that both are pretending and misrepresenting the true facts about self.
Some Bible scholars have pointed out that there are two ways of looking at this proverb. It may be that a man who has negligible material possessions may try to create a false impression before others that he is wealthy, while the one who actually has lots of money may appear to be poor before others. It may also be that a very wealthy person may be poor spiritually while a humble and godly person though financially poor, is actually very rich being an heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ. G. Campbell Morgan in his classic book 'Searchlights from the Word' illustrates this as below:
"Our age abounds with men who have made themselves rich, and yet have nothing. They have amassed great wealth, and yet it has no purchasing power in the true things of life. It cannot insure health, it brings no happiness, and it often destroys peace. On the other hand, there are those who have impoverished themselves, and have by so doing become wealthy in all the highest senses of the word. How is this to be explained? Is not the solution found by laying the emphasis in each of the contrastive declarations, upon the word self. To make self, rich, is to destroy the capacity for life. To make self, poor, by enriching others is to live. It is impossible to consider this saying of Hebrew wisdom, without thinking of the One who became incarnate Wisdom."
Let us understand that our money is only a small factor in determining whether we are wealthy or poor. It is possible that some people keep up appearances in order to climb the social ladder by giving the impression that they are wealthy, while others may choose to live in a simple fashion even though they have great wealth. It is also possible that a poor man may be prosperous because he is happy and content with what he has, while a wealthy man may be poor because he is not content with his position and is continually grasping for more. It will be beneficial for us to ponder the following profound words of Jesus: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." (Luke 12:15)
Many times our greediness becomes counterproductive while our generosity will enrich us one way or another. Let us not be rich only in the things money can buy while we ignore the things money cannot buy. It is seen that the rich are often poorer than the poor when it comes to what really counts. The sad truth is that those who possess riches invariably put their trust in them. At the same time, these rich people are often threatened by those who want their money, and may be kidnapped for ransom. Behind each situation is the principle that the security of riches can be illusory while the insecurity of poverty has its advantages!
Let us remember the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-21 which described a wealthy farmer who wanted to build bigger storage facility to stack up his harvest, and thought that he had many years to live. Unfortunately, that day was his last day on the earth, and he could not take anything with him upon his death. He had not invested his life on matters pertaining to eternal values, so he was actually really poor even though he was materially rich. So, let’s get a good grasp of God’s law concerning true riches and wealth today, and emulate the wonderful example of our Lord Jesus Christ every day of our lives.