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The Poverty of Money

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Proverbs 13:7

While the Bible sees no wrong in wealth righteously obtained and properly managed, it is nevertheless at pains to point out the relative value, and fleeting nature of all things material and monetary (Prov. 23:4-5). We must never trust money to yield what God alone can provide, for unlike our unfailing God money will fail us (Prov. 11:28). Money can buy medicine, but it cannot buy health. Money can buy a bed, but it cannot buy sleep. Money can buy books, but it cannot buy wisdom. Money can buy a crucifix, but it cannot buy salvation. Health, sleep, wisdom, and salvation are all gifts from God. We need to remind ourselves that some people are so poor that all they have is money. The book of Proverbs actually talks about the rich poor, and the poor rich (Prov. 13:7). A man can have everything and yet have nothing, and another man can have nothing and yet have everything. How can that be? Because a person’s net worth is not to be measured in terms of property or possessions.

Proverbs teach us that true wealth is to be found in the acquiring of godly wisdom which is rooted in the fear of God (Prov. 3:13-18; 8:10-11, 17-19; 16:16). Wisdom which calls for the worship of God leads to enduring riches (Prov. 8:18). There are a lot of things a man or woman can do without, but they cannot do without the enrichment of a relationship with God. Wisdom reminds us of the reward of fearing God (Prov. 22:4). Wisdom reminds us of the treasure of God's truth (Prov. 23:23). Wisdom reminds us that riches will not profit in the day of God's wrath (Prov. 11:4). The best things in life, therefore, are God's to give through fearing Him, obeying His Word, and living with eternal values. In New Testament terms it means making the Lord Jesus your treasure, the One who was made poor that we might be made rich through His death, burial and resurrection (2 Cor. 8:9). Therefore the greatest investment we can make is to be rich in faith, and rich in good works towards Christ (James 2:5; 1 Tim. 6:18-19).

The story is told of a tax assessor in the old days who visited the home of a poor Christian laborer to assess his tax bill. The Christian told the man that he was very wealthy and said, "First I have life everlasting. Second, I have an inheritance in heaven that doesn’t fade. Third, I have a peace that passes all understanding. Fourth, I have a loving wife who is worth more than rubies. Fifth, I have children that seek to honor me all my days. Sixth, I have a God who supplies all my needs out of the riches of His glory." The auditor closed his book and said, "Truly you are a rich man, and your wealth is not subject to taxation." Friends, if you want to know how wealthy you are then add up all you have that money cannot buy, and death cannot steal. Watch out for the poverty of money! Seek God’s riches in Christ (Eph. 3:8)!

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