Proverbs 30:8b …Give me neither poverty nor riches… (NKJV)
The general consensus today concerning income is that more is better. And increasing one’s income is the primary deciding factor in employment decisions.
More is not always better. The Bible is full of warnings concerning the dangers of riches. There is the myth that wealth makes life easy and if we only had lots of money, we could do all those things God wants us to do. It is the very rare person who does not allow abundant wealth to draw them away from the things of God.
Should our primary goal be to “climb the ladder” and increase our income at every chance? While it is not innately wrong, it should NOT be the primary consideration. God’s will and direction should take precedence over all other issues, including pay increases.
Let me stop here to say that money is not evil. Money is a tool. Money is useful in God’s Kingdom. God created money. Money is a major topic in the Bible.. Money is only evil when we pursue it, instead of God. Money is evil when we begin to treat it as OURS instead of God’s.
Proverbs 15:16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble. (NKJV)
The general Biblical principle about money is that it all belongs to God and we should follow His direction in the use of it (Matt 6.21). We should be content with what we have at any given moment (1Tim 6.6).
God allows some people to prosper financially and we should not covet their wealth. God allows others to be impoverished and we should not ignore their needs. Most of us fall in the middle somewhere. A good rule of thumb (not a legalistic standard) concerning income is Proverbs 30.7-9:
- Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Be honest. Ask God for integrity in financial matters and to not allow money to cause you to lie and cheat.
- Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Ask God to give you just what you need to do His will. It’s okay if you don’t long to be poor. Financial poverty is not a requirement for salvation. God does not command us to be poor. Neither are we to disdain it if God has chosen poverty to be our lot in life for His purposes. Ask the Lord to provide just the right amount of what you need and learn to be content because it is the perfect amount.
- Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the LORD?”
The more comfortable and secure we are in the pleasures of this world, the less we will naturally depend on God. Don’t desire a level of prosperity that removes your need to depend on God. Don’t allow the care of riches and trust in financial security to consume your time and energy.
- Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God. (NKJV)
Financial poverty does not produce “holiness” by default. God loves us. He doesn’t want us to starve and beg and be tempted to steal to feed our family. Certainly, God may use extreme poverty at times to purify His children, but in general, the Lord provides for those of His Household. He knows what our needs are, and if He can feed the birds, He can feed us.
The closer our fellowship with God, the more we will come to realize His perfect provision in our lives. He gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. God is just waiting for us to discover it!
Luke 12:22-26 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? (NKJV)
Neither the despair of poverty, nor the indulgence or riches should be our desire. Contentment comes from having just what we need as determined by a loving God! This brings freedom despite our bank balance:
- We aren’t in want and constant need physically to the point of despair;
- Nor do we have a never-ending, never satisfied craving for more and more and more riches.
This leaves us to enjoy life, content with what God has granted us for this day. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
Father, if we desire good things for our children, how much more is Your desire to take care of us? Grant us the wisdom to understand and believe that You will care for us and to be content with the perfect portion You have allotted us today. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Are you content with your income? If you get a higher income, will you be content then? For how long? Why?
Application: There is no amount of money that will make a discontent heart become contented. Contentment is only found in God’s will. Ask God to give you wisdom about money.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?