In our past couple of Wisdom Notes, we started down new trails in a series “It’s Only Money” with the theme of being on the trail of true riches. Last week we hiked along the trails of “What Money Cannot Do For You” and “What Money Will Do For You.” On both trails, we came to understand that money does not bring lasting security because we will never have enough. Money can also sprout wings and fly off like an eagle leaving us to wonder where it has gone. I know that you can probably relate to this. I know I can.
This week we are going to examine the trail of “Money Attitudes.” So, let’s head on up the yellow brick trail to a land of financial contentment. This may very well be a foreign country to you.
There are a number of principles in the Book of Proverbs that should shape our attitude toward money.
Some of these principles are:
1. Neither the possession of money nor the lack of it is proof of your goodness or worthiness.
Within the faith community of our day, there are some that indicate that prosperity is proof of godliness. The rich, they suppose, are wealthy because they are more worthy. This camp gets caught up by the trappings of affluence. In other religious groups, there is a spoken or unspoken code that austerity of others is the sign of being spiritual, so their poverty becomes proof of goodness.
Both of these views are wrong for several reasons.
- First, you may be rich for the wrong reasons. Illegal commerce or bad behavior, for example, could be the means by which you prosper.
- Likewise, you may be poor for reasons other than being lazy. Some are poor due to injustice, not
- Proverbs 13:23, “A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away.”
- Proverbs 19:22, “Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest.”
Money is never an indicator of morality. What most of us fail to grasp is that money is completely amoral. It all comes from the heart and mind. It is how you handle the wealth that you do have that is important. Don’t judge others by their perceived lifestyles.
“It is how you handle the wealth that you do have that is important. “
Proverb 13:7 shows why we should not judge by outward appearance, “Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor.”
True riches can never be measured in terms of money.
2. God has not promised to make every good or godly person wealthy.
The question which you must first ask is, “Does God in His Word promise to financially prosper you? Is there a formula that will guarantee you financial success?” To be dogmatic about these questions would be foolish.
This is particularly difficult to understand in our western societies. Even the poorest of people would be considered wealthy in many other places of the world. Regardless of where you live or your standard of living, there are certain principles in the Bible that, if followed, will allow you to build wealth into your lives. These principles are no different than the principles in other areas of life such as eating properly, getting exercise, or sleeping. If you abuse any of these areas you will have negative consequences. It goes back to the laws of planting and harvesting.
Before we attempt to become wealthy, a more appropriate goal is to become financially free.
“When you become financially free you then have the freedom to make choices in life.”
Becoming wealthy, or at least financially free, is simple and yet so few people obtain this freedom. Essentially there are there are 4 basic steps to financial freedom.
- Spend less than you make. Live modestly, and remember there are very few real “needs.”
- Never borrow money with the possible exception of a modest home.
- Invest at least 10%. This could be investing in your own business or yourself personally.
- Give at least 10% to those in need. Practice helping others on a personal level, for it is then that it becomes real.
But you might ask, “Guthrie that is all well and good, but I am in a heap of hurt financially right now. What do I do?” I believe one of the best plans to get out of that trap is the one that Dave Ramsey’s organization has laid out. You can find that at daveramsey.com/baby-steps.
How we handle money and whether we become wealthy is more of a mindset than mystery. I personally believe that God controls everything within the universe, including our small amount of wealth.
When Job went through his trials he proclaimed, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21. So, no matter how much wealth you have or don’t have, at best it is only yours to manage for the few short years that you are alive. So, manage well.
3. Proverbs never encourages us to desire to be wealthy, but to make every sacrifice to be wise.
“We are to seek for wisdom as if it were wealth.”
My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
For the Lord grants wisdom!
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to him.
Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.
Just think of it. If you seek wisdom first, not only will you have the treasure of wisdom and understanding, you will also have the ability to make wise choices to become wealthy in all areas of life.
Now that is true wealth. Next week in our Wisdom Note, we will explore the connection between wisdom and money.