Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Proverbs wisdom, money, and righteous living

I'm taking my blog in a new direction and pledging regular updates. From now on, instead of ambitiously large posts that no one cares about, I will use this space for short little theological, philosophical, or homiletic reflections. They'll be easier to read and less time consuming to prepare.

Proverbs 10.16
"The wages of the righteous bring them life,
but the income of the wicked brings them punishment."

Pastor Don preached on Pr. 10 this past Sunday. In light of this chapter, I've been wrestling a lot with coming to terms with the American economy and Capitalism. The American economy (very broadly speaking) is run on the assumption that if you are rich, it's because you worked hard for your money and if you are poor, it's because you didn't try enough and you deserved your poverty. In short, "everyone gets a fair chance". But today no one can look at the folly of our economic system and turn a blind eye to the people that fall through the cracks. Everyone knows someone who's hard-working and disciplined and smart but simply can't pull himself out of his circumstances.

"bill, i believe this is killing me"
as a smile ran away from his face
"well i'm sure that i could be a movie star
if I could get out of this place."

Likewise we are all too familiar with the rich boys riding of the coattails of their father's wealth; we've all heard stories of Asian parents who sacrificed so much to bring their kids to the U.S. and give them a better chance, a better education, and those kids who didn't understand how much their opportunities cost their parents.

But then there's Pr 10.4 "Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." How do we understand money and finances in light of Proverbs wisdom? I think ultimately the Bible doesn't make any value judgments of any man-made economic system. Pr 10.16 acknowledges no correlation between righteousness and wealth or wickedness and poverty. All it says is, if you faithfully obey God, your money will bring you life. Likewise, no amount of gold or dollar bills will save the wicked from the ultimate wrath of God. Underlying all of the verses that we looked at on Sunday is the idea that righteous living far out-values monetary wealth. The bottom line is, regardless of wealth or poverty, the goal is to please God with whatever we have.

"Ill-gotten treasures are of no value,
but righteousness delivers from death" Pr 10.2

1 comment:

  1. i've wanted you to blog regularly for a long time now. this is good.

    i miss you so stinking much. you don't even understand.