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Proverbs 16:16; 22:12; 23:45; 28:20; 30:79; 13:11; 15:27; 20:17; 21:6; 22:16; 28:6, 8, 24; 3:910; 11:28; 16:8comment (0)

April 3, 2014

By Robert Olsen, Ph.D.

Related Scripture: Proverbs 16:16; 22:12; 23:45; 28:20; 30:79; 13:11; 15:27; 20:17; 21:6; 22:16; 28:6, 8, 24; 3:910; 11:28; 16:8

Explore the Bible 
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

Exercise Financial Responsibility

Proverbs 16:16; 22:1–2; 23:4–5; 28:20; 30:7–9; 13:11; 15:27; 20:17; 21:6; 22:16; 28:6, 8, 24; 3:9–10; 11:28; 16:8

Place Finances in Perspective (16:16; 22:1–2; 23:4–5; 28:20; 30:7–9)

American society places an emphasis on getting rich. Think about how much our society focuses on sports figures and Hollywood stars. There are magazines, TV shows and Internet sites showing us how the rich live and spend their money. While money is not bad in and of itself, the Bible teaches that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10). Therefore it is important for Christians to have a proper perspective on wealth. Proverbs has several verses that deal with the issue, and the main point of these verses is that while wealth is not bad, it is not to be our main goal in life. Proverbs 23:4–5 says: “Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it. As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.”

Jesus echoes this sentiment in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:19–21. 

It is interesting to note that the Bible never tells us that if we seek the Lord or have enough faith that we will become wealthy. Conversely Jesus says it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19:23–24). This is in contrast to what is often called the “prosperity gospel” or the “health and wealth gospel.” These teachings say that if you have enough faith, you will get rich. Sadly this distorted gospel is popular in many areas of the world. Often on TV there are so-called “evangelists” who teach that you just have to claim the promises of God, send money for a special prayer napkin or send money to their ministry and you will receive financial blessing from the Lord. Christians should stay away from this sort of teaching. We need to keep in mind that both Paul and Jesus died with few possessions, and no one questions whether or not they had enough faith.

Earn Money with Integrity (13:11; 15:27; 20:17; 21:6; 22:16; 28:6, 8, 24)

The Proverbs warn us not to use people as a means to gain money at their expense. Many in our society buy into the “let the buyer beware model” and think if they can sell something defective without getting caught, then they are in the right. It is the buyer’s fault. This is completely unchristian. Christians are to treat others with integrity and respect, understanding that everyone is made in the image of God and deserves to be treated with kindness and honesty. Proverbs 28:6 says, “Better a poor man who lives with integrity than a rich man who distorts right and wrong.”

Honor the Lord with Your Resources (3:9–10; 11:28; 16:8)

Conversely instead of valuing money over people Christians are to value people over money. This means that we need to use our wealth to bring honor and glory to God. God chooses to bless some people with money. For Christians, this is not a blessing to be hoarded or used for personal pleasure. Jesus tells a story in Luke 12:13–21 called the Rich Fool. In this story, a rich man stores up all of his grain so that he can eat, drink and be merry. Because he shows no interest in giving glory to God in using his resources for anyone but himself, God took his life, asking the question whose wealth is it now? Many people put their trust in riches and therefore never think they have enough. Christians need to trust that God will provide and that the wealth we have is a gift from God meant to be used for His purposes. We give to our churches and to various ministries so that other people can experience God’s love, grace and mercy. For Jesus, people are more important than riches. Riches are temporary while people are eternal; therefore we should invest more time and energy into people than into wealth.

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