Survival Tip #3: Money

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 7/5/2020
Money  Proverbs  Wisdom 

This morning we launch into the heart of our Proverbs series. These first few weeks we laid down some foundational principles, about honoring God, and honoring our parent’s wisdom. We talked last week about how to instill wisdom in the next generation. For the rest of this series we’re going to dive into specific content that needs to be passed one generation to the next.

When I read the Proverbs, I see the exact same wisdom echoed in the New Testament. These Proverbs hold truth for all times, for people everywhere. They are not Americanized. They are not politically colored—they are pre-politics. They are not the wisdom of white people, or some power class. Their truth echoes across generations and cultures, time and geography.

Our theme this morning is Wisdom related to Wealth. I want to address three questions. First, what human factors destroys wealth? If I want to ruin myself/family financially, what should I do? Second, what human factors builds wealth? If you are looking for a practical plan to manage your finances, develop a budget, get out of debt, or invest wisely. . . I recommend Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace. You can take his course online. This morning I will share some less talked about principles. Last, what are the limitations of wealth? Wealth is important but it’s not everything, It’s certainly not ultimate! So let’s get started.

This is going to be super straightforward today. Are you ready? First, what personal factors, within your power/authority/responsibility, destroys wealth? Later in this series, we’re going to talk about the systemic matters of justice and fairness related to wealth. I’m hoping that in a month or so people will have heightened receptivity. Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions.” If we’d look to God, His Word can guide us into greater shared future!

There are at least TWELVE ways you can destroy yourself financially. If one way doesn’t work out for you, the others will surely decimate your fortunes. Don’t scurry to write down all these verses—go print my manuscript later. Just listen.

1. Criminality Destroys Wealth. Proverbs 1:10, “If sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded. If they say—“Come with us! Let’s set an ambush and kill someone. Let’s attack some innocent person just for fun!. . . DON’T!” Crime just doesn’t pay, it actually costs you everything. Proverbs 12:3, “No one can be made secure by wickedness, but the root of the righteous is immovable.” There is a fascinating book called Jim Crow 2.0. The premise of the book is that a felony conviction has the same legal/social/personal affects on a person as the racist Jim Crow laws. Few things will devastate your good fortunes as crime. White or black… a felony grants everyone the social/legal/political permission to discriminate against you in all the worse ways imaginable. Housing. Jobs. Education. Loans.

2. Dishonesty. Proverbs 1:19, “Such are the paths of those who make profit dishonestly; it takes the lives of those who receive it.” Proverbs 13:11, “Wealth obtained by fraud will dwindle, but whoever earns it through labor will multiply it.” The most dangerous currency to squander is personal trust. You might be able to cheat other people, even your own family for a time. But once you spend your trust it’s virtually impossible to reestablish. Word spreads fast.

3. Carousing, Partying, Immoderation. Proverbs 23:20-21, “Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine or with those who gorge themselves on meat. For the drunkard and glutton will become poor, and grogginess will clothe them in rags.” There is such a profound insight here. When you live in the flesh, gratifying your cravings and desires. . . it dulls your mind, your body, your senses, your imagination, and creativity and initiative and drive and spirit… it dulls the very best God-given parts of you. Over-eating and drinking robs your potential, your capacity to contribute to the good of your family/others. Recreational marijuana. Now legal. Now socially applauded. It soothes and calms and relaxes and chills. It decimates your capacity to cope, to grow, to face, to matter.

4. Wickedness & Treachery. Proverbs 2:21-22, “For the upright will inhabit the land, and those of integrity will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous ripped out of it.” The treacherous are those who live hazardously, who take foolish gambles (literally/figuratively). You might cheat fate once or twice, but eventually it will bite you.

5. Marital Infidelity. Regarding a promiscuous neighbor, the Father warns his son. Proverbs 5:8-10, “Keep your way far from her. Don’t go near the door of her house. Otherwise, you will give up your vitality to others and your years to someone cruel; strangers will drain your resources, and your hard-earned pay will end up in a foreigner’s house. At the end of your life you will lament when your physical body has been consumed. . .” Nothing has statistically devastated wealth more greatly than cohabitation, adultery, and divorce. Why Cohabitation? A man fathers children with all the trappings of marriage but none of the responsibilities. After his girlfriend has spent the best years of her life bearing children, he easily hits the reset button while she’s left with all the responsibilities, working 2-3 jobs. Adultery. Divorce. Infidelity. The courts, lawyers, your ex, your ex's new love interest, strangers. . . literally consume your wealth. Bankruptcy. The financial fallout of infidelity should be understood and spelled out fully. Anxiety, Depression, Anger/Rage . . . it takes a toll on your body and well-being.

6. Careless Agreements. Proverbs 11:15, “If someone puts up security for a stranger, he will suffer for it, but the one who hates such agreements is protected.” Proverbs 17:18, “One without sense enters an agreement and puts up security for his friend.” In Proverbs 6:1-5 a father counsels his son what to do… “If you have put up security for your neighbor or entered into an agreement with a stranger, you have been snared by the words of your mouth, (trapped by the words of your mouth). . . do this then, my son, and free yourself, for you have put yourself under your neighbor’s power: Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor. Don’t give sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. Escape like a gazelle from a hunter, like a bird from a hunter’s trap.” You might notice how Proverbs 6 echoes Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Settle things quick. Jesus also says give to the one who asks for money without expecting anything in return. That sounds like horrible advice but its so true. Any money you extend to a family member, a friend, even a church member… and especially a stranger (someone you don’t know the character of) ought to just be considered gift. If they pay you back let it be a surprise, not an expectation. Don’t bank on it going well.

7. Laziness destroys Wealth. Proverbs 6:10-11, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit.

8. Greed destroys wealth. Proverbs 11:24, “One person gives freely, yet gains more; another withholds what is right, only to become poor.”

9. Misplaced Faith destroys wealth. Proverbs 11:28, “Anyone trusting in riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.”

10. A Pretentious Lifestyle. Proverbs 13:7, “One person pretends to be rich but has nothing; another pretends to be poor but has abundant wealth.”

11. Being Taken Advantage Of destroys wealth. Proverbs 20:14, “It’s worthless, it’s worthless the buyer says but after he is on his way, he gloats.” If you want to be kind and generous, be kind and generous. But a worker deserves his wages. Know your value, the worth of your goods and services.

12. Chasing Fantasies destroys wealth. Proverbs 28:19, “The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” One day I’ll win the lottery. One day I’ll marry a millionaire. One day this… one day that. . . 

Okay, what kinds of things generally builds prosperity? For every person who laments how unfair, unjust, evil, racist, cruel this world is. . . There are ten people who would extol the wisdom of Proverbs. For every one of these principles you embrace, your exponentially multiply your potential for building wealth.

1. Generosity builds wealth. Remember Proverbs 11:24-25? “One person gives freely, yet gains more; another withholds what is right, only to become poor. A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water.” Your generosity engenders others generosity. You truly reap what you sow! 2 Cor 8-9

2. Hard Work builds wealth. Proverbs 14:23, “There is profit in all hard work, but endless talk leads only to poverty.” I’ve found that I can help anyone who is willing to work hard. All day long, every day! There is no sustainable way to subsidize a sluggard. Proverbs 13:18, “Poverty and disgrace come to those who ignore discipline. . .”

3. Wise/Smart Living builds wealth. Proverbs 14:24, “The crown of the wise is their wealth, but the foolishness of fools produces foolishness.” Proverbs 8:18- 19, “With me [wisdom] are riches and honor, lasting wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than solid gold, and my harvest than pure silver.” You don’t have to learn everything in the school of hard knocks… you could just seek wisdom, and avoid so much pain. Be humble and teachable… let people help you!

4. Righteousness. Proverbs 10:3, “The Lord will not let the righteous go hungry, but he denies the wicked what they crave.” Proverbs 11:18, “The wicked person earns an empty wage, but the one who sows righteousness, a true reward.”

5. Diligent Planning. Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.”

6. Perfecting Skills. Proverbs 22:29, “Do you see a person skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings. He will not stand in the presence of the unknown.” Does an NFL star deserve a multi-million dollar salary for catching, or running, or passing, or tackling? He does if he perfected his skill. Whatever you do, you should do it to your fullest ability. Somebody will pay top dollar.

7. Hunger/Need. Proverbs 16:26, “A worker’s appetite works for him because his hunger urges him on.” Proverbs 27:7, “A person who is full tramples on a honeycomb; but to a hungry person, any bitter thing is sweet.” The Bible makes a case for the power of scarcity, hunger. The only way you can teach a dog new tricks is to make him hungry. A pampered, well-fed dog will barely wags its tail.

8. Marrying Well. Proverbs 18:22, “A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” The pinnacle of Proverbs, Proverbs 31, is the celebration of a wife of noble character. Nothing is too small, too beneath her. Against all odds she prospers in every dimension of life. Go read about her!

9. Family Stability. Proverbs 19:14, “A house and wealth are inherited from fathers. . .” Now I’m going to talk about this again later. One of the systemic affects of racism, and slavery, is how it prevented families from not just building… but also passing down wealth, property generationally.

10. Slow and Steady Faithfulness. Proverbs 28:20, “A faithful person will have many blessings, but one in a hurry to get rich will not go unpunished.” So many young people are waiting for something to fall from the sky and just happen. They want to get rich quick. It doesn’t work that way. There is a lot of talk these days about the myth of incrementalism… that a person can work there way from less to more. Jesus said faithful with little, faithful with much. God says I will not be mocked, a person reaps what he sows.

11. Honoring the Poor. Proverbs 14:21-22, “A poor person is hated by even his neighbor, but there are many who love the rich. The one who despises his neighbor sins, but whoever shows kindness to the poor will be happy.”

12. Honoring God with a Tithe. Proverbs 3:9-10. “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”

So last, I want to emphasize, that Wealth isn’t EVERYTHING. The perspective of the Proverb’s writers is that the Fear of God is EVERYTHING. God is the head, wealth is the tail. A few parting verses:

• Proverbs 16:16, “Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure with turmoil.”

• Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold.”

• Proverbs 3:13-18, “Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold. She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire can equal her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her, and those who hold on to her are happy.”

Scripture Verses

Proverbs 3:13-18; Various other Proverbs

Worship Playlist

King of Glory by Passion

Who You Say I Am by Hillsong

Cornerstone by Hillsong

Run to the Father by Cody Carnes

Study Questions

  1. Why do you think money is mentioned so often in Proverbs and throughout the Bible?
  2. How can money be either a pitfall or benefit to your faith?
  3. Where do you most need to grow in your use of money?

Apply It!

Resources

Our In the Wilderness sermon series booklet provides a place for sermon notes, questions for reflection, and a challenge to read through the book of Proverbs in 31 days. You may pick up a booklet at Lakeside on Sunday mornings or weekdays between 8:00 am & 4:00 pm.