Prosperity From Proverbs

I loathe the “prosperity teachers” who twist the Word of God and misdirect faith in God to faith in material gain. Three thousand years ago, Solomon and a few others taught us how to become prosperous in ways that are pleasing to the Lord.

Be Righteous: The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the stomach of the wicked is in need (Proverbs 13:25). Adversity pursues sinners, but the righteous will be rewarded with good things (Proverbs 13:21). Sin and bad habits are expensive. Cigarettes, drugs, alcohol and prostitution are not only bad for you, they harm your finances. Divorce is very often destructive to finances, and having children outside of marriage so they’re raised by a single mother frequently leads to financial hardship, as well. (Single mothers are one of the poorest segments of society.) Those who are right with God, who are in a right relationship with Him, who are committed to consistently do the right things, won’t do as many sinful and foolish things that will harm them and their finances as the wicked do; and the righteous will have God on their side. God will favor them. He wants to help them. He wants to provide for their needs.

Work Hard: Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich (Proverbs 10:4). Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave (Proverbs 12:24). There is no substitute for hard work. It’s God’s primary way of meeting our needs and increasing our wealth. God expects us to work. Work is part of our punishment for rebelling against Him (by the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat). Work builds character. Work keeps us out of trouble. Idle hands are the devil’s tools.

Make Good Plans: Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty (Proverbs 21:5). A hard worker has plenty of food but a person who chases worthless pursuits ends up in poverty (Proverbs 28:19). Those who work hard and have a good plan to improve their situation have an advantage over those who make plans that are not well thought out. Don’t waste your time, effort and money on plans that have little or no value.

Be Patient: Wealth from empty schemes disappears; wealth from work grows over time (Proverbs 13:11). How you make money matters. Wealth comes from honest work. Wealth comes from the extra money that’s ours after our needs are met that’s invested wisely over time. Wealth acquired by foolish schemes or get-rich-quick schemes seldom lasts.

Be Honest: Wealth created by a lying tongue is a vanishing mist and a deadly trap (Proverbs 21:6). Wealth acquired by deceit or fraud seldom lasts.

Take On Extra Work And Use Better Tools: Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest (Proverbs 14:4). Those who work hard and invest in better tools and technology will make more money than those who don’t.

Don’t Guarantee Another Person’s Loans: There’s danger in putting up security for a stranger’s debt; it’s safer not to guarantee another person’s debt (Proverbs 11:15). It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend (Proverbs 17:18). It’s foolish to jeopardize your finances to guarantee someone else’s debt, especially if they don’t have good character, are living beyond their means, mismanaging their finances or making foolish investments.

Don’t Overindulge In Pleasure And Luxuries: Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and oil will never be rich (Proverbs 21:17). Wine and oil represent luxuries. If you indulge in too many pleasures and luxuries (expensive entertainments, dining, vacations, jewelry, cars, etc.), you will be poorer than you otherwise would be.

Live Within Your Means: Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor (Proverbs 13:7). Don’t make a display of money you don’t have. There are people who drive expensive cars, wear expensive clothes and jewelry, and live in expensive homes, but the house has a big mortgage and the car has a big lease payment. They’re in debt and living paycheck to paycheck. And there are people who live within their means, or under their means, and have plenty of money. Delay present gratification for future advantage. Consume less and save more, then put the savings into good investments that grow over time.

Don’t Live On Borrowed Money: The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave (Proverbs 22:7). Living beyond your means and borrowing money is the way to financial enslavement.

Don’t Have The Goal Of Getting Rich: Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to stop yourself. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle (Proverbs 23:4-5). Eagles fly away fast and far and become inaccessible. Even if you do everything right, your wealth can suddenly disappear. So, don’t make getting rich your goal in life. If you do, you’re likely to be disappointed.

It’s Best To Be Neither Rich Nor Poor. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name (Proverbs 30:8-9). There are dangers for those who are rich and for those who are poor. The rich are inclined to ignore God because they feel no need for Him. The poor are tempted to steal to meet their needs. Those who are neither rich nor poor are better off. Be content if you have enough to meet your needs.

Honor The Lord With Your Wealth: Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine (Proverbs 3:9-10). Our life, our redemption, all of our blessings, including our abilities to generate wealth, are gifts from God. Therefore, if we love the Lord, we will honor Him by giving Him the first and the best of what we have − not the leftovers. How much should we give? We should try to give ten percent of our income. That’s the minimum the godly have tried to give through the ages. Who do we give to? The focus of our giving should be the community of Yeshua-followers of which we are a part.

Be Generous: Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed (Proverbs 11:24-25). If God blesses you so you have more than enough, share some of what you have with those who have less. That pleases the Lord and inclines Him to prosper you even more.

Understand The Nature Of Money: How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver (Proverbs 16:16). Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart (Proverbs 17:3). Wisdom is better than gold and silver. However, gold and silver are still very useful. Over the centuries, different things have been used as money. When Proverbs was written, gold and silver were used as money in Israel. And since the time of Solomon, they were used as money throughout the world. However, starting about a hundred years ago, the world stopped using gold and silver as money. Nations substituted currencies not backed by anything as money. The problem is, governments always create more currency than they should. That lessens the value of the currency, causes inflation and creates hardship for most people. That’s what we’re experiencing now. Gold and silver are the best kind of money. If the Lord blesses you with wealth, one of the best ways to maintain that wealth is by investing it in gold and silver.

Don’t Trust In Money – Trust In God: Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring (Proverbs 11:28). Money can buy many good things, but not the best things. Money can disappear. If you trust in God and not in money, your life in this world will be better and you will live with God in the world to come. To help us remember to trust in God and not money, “In God We Trust” was made the official motto of the United States and appears on all of our coins and bills.