Proverbs 23 contains sayings # 6 – 19 of the 30 sayings Solomon introduced in 22:17.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that these sayings (which are collected, not King Solomon originals) include one or more reasons for the sayings, or the effects of the actions.
I had to smile at the way he includes a saying about dining with a rich ruler (vv1-3), since Solomon was himself a ruler, the richest ever. If you’re given to gluttony, “put a knife to your throat” (not your food) 😀 A classic example of our term “wine and dine”.
In light of my focus yesterday in chapter 22, and since I finished the CD version of Financial Peace University on the way to work this morning (yess!!), I’m thinking most about verses 4 & 5.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
have the wisdom to show restraint.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
I’m on a mission, I’ll admit it. I’m working long, hard hours (joyfully – don’t get me wrong), pedalling hard, albeit uphill, in hot pursuit of a badge I desperately want. It says:
But I’m reminded today that there’s a difference between being free and being rich.
To “owe no man nothing” doesn’t mean I have it made in the shade. But it does mean I’m unencumbered. Free (which 98% of America is not). When I’m financially free and God says “Go” I don’t have to worry about a lot of “pre-existing obligations” on my way to saying “yes”. Paul alluded to this concept in his soldier, athlete and farmer illustrations in 2 Timothy 2. So my heart heard the admonition again this morning to have the wisdom to show restraint.
I discovered years ago that many weaknesses are strengths out of control or taken to excess and I don’t want my zeal to cross that line in on this front. I’d be one miserable husband, disgruntled dad and crotchety old grandpa if I worked myself out of good health and wholesome attitude on my way to this goal, even though it’s a goal God impressed on me.
So I will apply my heart to instruction and my ears to words of knowledge. (v12) – and stay balanced.
I will wisely invest the time and resources and skills God entrusts to me so I can say to my son and son-in-law (when I have one of each), “My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad. My inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.” (vv15,16)
I will listen, be wise, and keep my heart on the right path (v19)
I will buy the truth and not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. (v23) What a powerful blend!
I know this fiscal wisdom is part of a larger picture but Jesus did talk more about money than any other subject, after all. This is one more way I can honor God, my father and mother — and I want to. I will.
The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.
May your father and mother be glad;
may she who gave you birth rejoice! (vv24-25)
Dad’s already gone on to Glory, but I don’t know but what he looks in on me from time to time. If he does, I want to be responsible for his soft-spoken “There ya’ go” or his characteristic silent smile of approval. Mom’s healthy and enjoying life, and I want her sleep well, knowing her son has proven himself a good steward (resource-manager) and rejoice in her waking hours, able to say with quiet confidence, “He and his family are doing well.”
My key ?
- Living in constant awareness of my Savior’s immediate presence (Joy-filled, confident obedience)
- and constant interaction with Him (Prayer).
I’m totally convinced of it. This key has unlocked life for me, even after some substantial failures onlookers thought had ruined everything.
You know us men. When we have a key in hand that’s opened the last several doors, it’s the first key we’re going to try on the one coming up. This one works, I’m tellin’ ya’, and I’m thankful for it!