Thursday, February 19, 2009

Money Wisdom from Proverbs

Given the continuing doleful news of our economy and the response to it from our elected leaders, it is good for us to listen to the voice of Scripture. We do not want to be like the millions with their hands out and their knees bowed to the golden calves of Washington. We want to bow our knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

My intent is to post periodic devotional thoughts on portions of the Proverbs related to money. We have much to learn, much to repent of, and much blessing to receive from such an endeavor.

Here’s the first installment.

Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

This chapter sets the integrity of the poor against the deceitfulness of the lying wealthy oppressor. However, it is a very balanced chapter, encouraging hard work and reminding us that we reap what we so.

Verse 17 has much food for thought. We ought to have pity on the poor and lend to him. When we do so, we are lending to Yahweh, Himself. That seems an odd thing to say, as if Yahweh was a bit down on His luck and needed a helping hand. We should understand that God uses us to do His work. When we give to the poor, we give to Him. He holds our gift and keeps an account. He eventually pays us back with interest.

We tend to think of the Lord giving us interest by letting us into heaven when we die. That may be part of it but the Bible is more earthy than that. We should understand and expect that God will bless us in this life. I don’t want us to become namers and claimers, as if God has to respond to us in a particular fashion. At the same time, God wants us to understand the world that He has made. It does operate on certain basic godly principles. When we give in God’s name, God will repay us.

This leads to another issue. How can we give if we have nothing to give? The Proverb warns of laziness in verse 15, 15Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. So, we should not be lazy. We have to work hard to get an increase. But what do we then do with that increase? In our current way of thinking, we spend it, ALL, on ourselves. This is disobedience because we have nothing left to lend to the poor. Thus, we cannot invest with God nor receive His dividends.

We must learn to live not, within, our means but below our means. We have to reduce our budget, so that we have something to give. Of course, the first and most obvious way to do this is to tithe. If you learn to live on 90% of your income, you are learning how to spend less than you make. And I would like to suggest that as a STARTING point. The fact of the matter is that the tithe is owed to God, so paying a tithe is not really living below your means. As our incomes go up, we should be thinking about living on 89% of our income, then 88% and so forth, so that we have more to give away. You must remember, God adds the increase and gives us a return on what we give to Him. So, giving to God is not throwing money away but rather investing it.

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