The book of Proverbs has much to say about wealth, work, prosperity, and stewardship. How we acquire wealth, how we spend it, and how we share it are all important issues along with our attitudes toward money and prosperity. This is not the prosperity gospel, but the gospel (good news) about prosperity is that if it is correctly defined in an unrestricted manner that includes spiritual intangibles , sought as something peripheral to more important values, rooted in enduring biblical principles, and built in increments by hard-working dreamers, it is possible.
That was a long sentence with quite a few qualifiers.
LORD abhors dishonest scales,
but accurate weights are his delight.
The first thing we need to know from today's proverbs is
that God cares how you get your wealth. You may accumulate riches through dishonest
business practices, but if you do, do not confuse your positive bank balance
with the favor of God. He detests dishonesty and cheating. When faced with a
moral dilemma about how things "measure up," choose to postpone your
profit and do the right thing.
One possible benefit is that you will get "caught" being scrupulously honest and fair and the resulting reputation will eventually bring customers, loyal ones, to your door.
4 - Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
Wealth can be a very good thing. It can buy us time freedom.
It can afford us my comforts. Just living in wealthy America
- When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
Righteous people have a cheering section on their quest for prosperity. Rank
and file citizen love your success story if ypou are the kind of person they
can admire and emmulate. Otherwise, they just shake their heads in disgust and
cry out "poetic justice: when your plans are foiled.
15 He who puts
up security for another will surely suffer,
but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe.
God has something to say about smart business practices also. Co-signing is not equiilant to generosity. Generosity is encouraged; putting your name on someone else's business deal is risking your reputation and stability unnecessarily and unwisely. You also risk your friendship with the person for whom you co-sign because that issue will dominate your thoughts toward her untill the obligation is completed. It will complicate your relationship and poison your interactions. Be smart with your money. Be even smarter with your credit and good name.
16 - A
kindhearted woman gains respect,
but ruthless men gain only wealth.
"Only wealth" is how the teacher describes the benefits that come
to ruthless people. is it true that ruthless business practices can result in
profit? Of course, but ONLY profit. Can hard-hearted, hard-nosed negotiating
that walks over the opponent bring final rewards? Yes, but ONLY financial
rewards. What is lost is respect. The business person who is respected in the community
for kindness and fairness will enjoy a different sort of prosperity that is
likely to include financial success - and it will be long-term.
17 - A
kind man benefits himself,
but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.
Kindness comes back to the kind person in so many ways: freedom from
trouble, avoidance of lawsuits, good will, peace of mind, and even fair profit.
Cruel people will be in constant conflict and turmoil. Don't be short-sighted
18 - The wicked
man earns deceptive wages,
but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
So, what is so bad about deceptive wages? For one thing , they are not
sure and for another, they're not rewarding. Those qualities of wealth are
reserved for the righteous. Stay in close relationship with God and keep
your moral compass pointed due north (spiritually). You can make money
otherwise, but remember that it is ONLY money.
24 - One man
gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
Yes. It is a mystery! Yes. It is counterintuitive. How can giving produce
gain? There are many "real world" illustrations that can show the
connection, but the primary rule is that which exists in the invisible
spiritual world that governs the ultimate affairs of humankind. God set it up
25 - A generous
man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Prosperity, whether it is material, relational, spiritual, or emotional,
flows from a deep spring of generosity. In your business, put others first.
Concentrate on delivering more than you are paid for and God will bless your
business. Use your business as a means for giving to people and to Kingdom
purposes, and He will give to you.
People curse the man who hoards grain,
but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.
Selling is an honorable profession, especially as a counterpoint to hoarding.
Believe it or not, some people fall so in love with their products that they
refuse to display them. However, this principle goes beyond that rarity. What
you offer has value and people need it. Don't keep it to yourself. Folks don't
know what they don't know. Tell, them, show them, and let them buy from you. Be
willing to sell.
27 He who seeks
good finds goodwill,
but evil comes to him who searches for it.
Seeking good is seeking God. Always seek God and seek His good in others. If
you like people and see the imange of God in them, they will be your best
friends and people like to do business with friends. Build goodwill.
28 - Whoever
trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
Finally (for today), don't trust your riches. Trust God. Your
"stuff" will not last forever. God will and whatever you give to God
will take on eternal qualities. Trust God.
Scriptures quoted from the New International Version - Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society