Sunday, May 13, 2018

Proverbs 16:8 -- On Righteousness and Wealth

"Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right."
Proverbs 16:8

A good reminder for today.  A hard one in some ways, and perhaps deeper than it seems.  In Jacob 2:17-19 it explains that riches aren't necessarily evil by themselves.  It is how we think about them and use them.  If we are generous to others, sharing our wealth, and we seek God first, always putting him first, then money could be used as a good thing, helping us to do good in the world.  However, like power, it is something that tends to corrupt (which is why 1 Timothy 6:10 tells us that the love of money is the root of all evil), so the message of this verse is paramount.  Righteousness is always better, even when it means we have little.

Choosing righteousness consistently is the only way that we would be able to use money to further God's work, so it is not only a better choice.  It might also be a prerequisite for being blessed with revenue later.  God obviously doesn't require us all to be dirt poor in order to serve him, but we all have to go through tests in our lives to see whether we can handle temptations... fame, power, money, relationships, etc.  We learn things slowly and as we are faithful with small things, we can be trusted with more.

On the other hand, being poor is also a test.  Can we handle that without becoming covetous or resentful of people around us who have more?  Are we able to focus on serving and lifting others and being happy for them and their successes, no matter our personal circumstances?  Today, let's learn to accept whatever we have, and maintain our righteousness, rather than being tempted to reach for more... of anything... in an unrighteous way.  Let's love and serve the people around us, acting generously and lovingly and seeking God before anything else, as the widow with her mites (Luke 21:1-4).

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