Of the many subjects the bible speaks about, and the book of Proverbs in particular, money is one of the most frequent. Wise use of money is a mark of godliness.
It can be easy to fall into a simplistic trap of thinking that being poor is a virtue and that being rich is sinful, yet the writer of Proverbs thinks otherwise…
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God. Pr 30:8,9
Money can be used wisely, for the glory of God. For money is the means by which we, and our families, physically are sustained. If we are unable to provide for our families, Paul is quite unequivocal.
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Ti 5:8
Whether this is as a husband, or a father to provide daily bread for one’s family, or as a son or daughter who earns enough to pay for their keep and maybe even support one’s parents. We are to work to earn money that we may support our families. In keeping with this, we are to spend our money wisely, not frivolously, to spend only that which we have, and not borrow unnecessarily.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Pr 22:7
We are even to save, but not hoard, such that we are able to provide for others in the future. In our investments, we are to be ethical, being careful to see our money is used wisely. Money may provide some measure of security – a roof over our head and food on the table, but we are not to trust in it.
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. Pr 13:11
As well as spending and saving money for our families, we are to share it, giving generously to those in need.
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Pr 11:24,25
This is not to say we’ll be a soft-touch for those seeking a lazy life, but we are to give those who really are in need of, and would benefit greatly from, financial assistance. Nor are we to pay the debts, or put our money down as security, of those who are unwise with money.
He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe. Pr 11:15
We must be careful who we lend money, that it may be used wisely.
Finally, money cannot buy salvation. He who dies with the most toys leaves the most toys. It cannot be taken with us when we die. The debt we owe God cannot be repaid with money.
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Pe 1:18,19
Will we place priority on settling our accounts with God?
For God is holy and just, and will not allow sin to go unpunished. We all deserve the wrath of God as we are all sinners. This wrath which rightly burns against sin, not in a malicious, spiteful, wanton manner, but in just, proportionate, passionate anger.
Yet, God is love, not just in that he provides for our daily needs, but that out of his grace and mercy, he sent his Son to be a propitiatory sacrifice. For in his death on the cross, Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God against our sin, that we might not have to. In this, the justice of God was satisfied. Amazing love which paid the price for sinners such as I! How much more is God’s love demonstrated through the salvation of those who do not deserve it!
This love should spur us to love God, and so love others. In doing so, we are not to keep this love to ourselves, but to share it, to tell others of this great love which is in Christ Jesus.