Grace For The Journey
“Smart Money” refers to the financial strategies of sophisticated investors. People who are particularly skilled at recognizing the profit and loss trends of Wall Street, buying and selling at just the right moment, are they who move the “smart money.”
You may hear: “Smart money is selling off this stock” or “Smart money is supporting this political candidate,” and so on.
Describing savvy investors as “smart” suggests, of course, that everyone else is – how shall we say? – not smart.” And the implication is, “Hey, if you really want to do the wise thing, then follow what ‘smart money’ is doing.”
The Bible describes Solomon as the wisest person who ever lived. In fact, God said there would never be anyone as wise as he (1 Kings 3:12). It is important then to take a look at what Solomon says about money in the Book of Proverbs. Let’s follow the “really smart money” by read through a number of proverbs related to money and apply their principles to our lives.
1) We Can Learn About Sorrow
Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”
Careful Bible teachers note that the Bible does not say: “money is a root of all kinds of evil,” but rather “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). If there is some kind of financial problem in your personal life or at home, it is not because money is intrinsically evil or inherently problematic. Rather, it is our attitude or response to money that brings about the sorrow of financial debt or the bondage of greed and avarice.
Solomon points out that money itself is not the problem. He points our that God blesses us with money. He adds no sorrow to it. If there is any sorrow, it will be because of something we have added to it, something like greed or poor stewardship.
Proverbs 13:11 says, “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.”
Someone said, “It’s better to be honestly poor than to be questionably rich.” Indeed, God honors steady, honest work. Increasing our money indicates that we have the wisdom to show restraint and that we are not always looking to spend money immediately or to get rich quickly.
People often seek validation from their money and possessions. They want to impress. They want others to regard them as important and successful, so they fall into the trap of trying to “keep up with the Jones’s.” It just leads to sorrow.
Someone said, “One could live on next to nothing if the neighbors would live on less.”
Proverbs 15:16 says, “Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble.”
What good are riches if we are miserable because we are never satisfied with what we have? If we are seeking happiness from riches then we are bound for sorrow.
Proverbs 19:4 declares, “Wealth makes many friends, but the poor is separated from his friend.”
When you have money, you have a lot of people who are suddenly your “friends.” How many “friends” do you suppose write Bill Gates and tell him how great they think he is and how worthy of his money they are?
I’m sure the prodigal son had a lot of friends at the beginning of his journey. After he received his early inheritance from his father, the Bible says he spent it all on “riotous” living; wasteful spending like partying and having a good time. I’m sure he had friends on both arms as he strolled in and out of every bar and party house. The Bible says, however, that when the money ran out, his friends ran out as well. Becoming hungry enough to eat food meant only for swine, he discovered even then that “no one would give him anything” (Luke 15:16). Wealth makes many friends, but poverty drives them away. Which lead to sorrow.
Here’s an important reminder about balance:
Proverbs 23:4-5 says, “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven.”
There are some people who always need “just a little bit more” to be content. They make a little bit more and then it’s: “just a little bit more.” And on and on it goes. Have the wisdom to show restraint.
Solomon adds: “Riches certainly make themselves wings.” Wings! Your money will sprout wings – and then what happens? The Bible says, “They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.” Your money sings the old hymn: “I’ll fly away, fly away, O glory!”
What else does Solomon teach us about the really “Smart Money?”
2) We Can Learn About Stewardship
Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the first-fruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Solomon reminds us of the blessing of tithing. “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the – (what?) – firstfruits of all your increase.” That’s the tithe. The Jewish farmer brought to God the first-fruits of his increase; the very first harvest of his crops. The Jews gave according to the law. They gave at least ten percent of their earnings. I believe Christians should give no less according to the grace God has given them. Think of it . . .
If the Jew returned to God
Ten percent according to the law,
How much more should
Christians give according to grace?
Tithing is a place for the Christian
Really to start in his giving.
After all, everything we have belongs to Him.
Maybe you heard about the minister defending the practice of tithing to a farmer in his church. He asked him: “If you had two hundred dollars, would you give one hundred dollars to the Lord?” The farmer replied, “Sure would.” The minister then asked: “If you had two cows, would you give one cow to the Lord?” The farmer said, “Yeah, I would.” The minister then asked him, “And if you had two pigs, would you give one of them to the Lord?” The farmer replied angrily: “Now, that’s not fair, preacher. You know I have two pigs!”
Giving to God is just
Taking your hands off
What belongs to Him.
When we give as we should, Solomon says we “honor the LORD.” And when we honor the Lord, He continues meeting our every need: “So your barns will be filled – (imperfect tense; continually!) – with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
God doesn’t need our money. He’s not dependent upon us. The Bible says in Philippians 4:19, “God provides all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Tithing is not so much
God’s way to raise money
As it is God’s way
To raise Christians.
For most of us, in just 50-75 years, everything we own will belong to somebody else. All the more reason to be good stewards of the things God has entrusted to our care!
Proverbs 13:22 states, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
Our “Last Will and Testament” is appropriately named. It is a “testament,” a “testimony” to who we were and how we lived; a testimony to what was important to us.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:21, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Where is your treasure? What if Jesus asked to look at your checkbook? Where would He determine your heart to be?
3) We Can Learn About Salvation.
Proverbs 11;4 says, “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”
What good are riches in the day of wrath? That is, what good is all of our wealth when we stand before a holy God? Worthless. They do not provide salvation from sin. We can’t buy our way into heaven. Billy Sunday used to say, “If we could take it with us, it would melt where some of us are going!”
You cannot earn your way into heaven. It’s not possible. Even if it were – just for the sake of argument – how could we ever pay enough? Sin against an infinitely holy God would require infinite payment.
What delivers from death and wrath?
This is why we need Jesus.
The Bible declares in Isaiah 64:6, All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” So I cannot be saved from the day of wrath by my riches because – as Solomon says – only righteousness delivers from death. But I’m not righteous enough, either.
Again . . .
This is why I need Jesus.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
In your riches,
trust in Christ.
Proverbs 11:28 declares, “He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.”
Trust in your riches and you’re in trouble. Trust in Christ and you will live. Salvation comes when you are clothed in Christ’s righteousness.
This is God Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”