Proverbs 23:4-5 – 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. (NIV)
If ever I have encountered a portion of scripture that needed little or no explanation, this is surely it. As one of my favourite ministers would say, "Those words could preach."
In the midst of the market turmoil convulsing the North American economy — as well as that of many other countries — there could be no better lesson for us to grab onto. It is amazing to me that, among all the other major news stories and events that have taken place in recent weeks, none has been more widely covered in North America than the struggling stock market. With the economy going up and down like a roller coaster, many people are looking for an answer. They are seeking a way to make money in spite of the declining market, or at least a way to hold onto the money they already have.
I see signs that people are working longer and harder hours at work to try to make up for what they have lost in the market. In this day and age we give so much weight and importance to the almighty dollar. People are literally wearing themselves out trying to get ahead, or for many, just trying to keep up.
Yet the wise author tells us that this is exactly what we should not be doing. "Do not wear yourself out to get rich" but rather show some restraint. He goes even further to explain to us why we should not be so concerned with riches, as he tells us that riches of this world will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Unfortunately, even when people realize that the riches can fly away from them so easily, they just seem to become more determined to catch the next flight to fly off in pursuit of their wonderful riches. Like the author of Ecclesiastes tells us: "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income." (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV)
God has given us so much more to behold and to seek rather than wealth. If we spent even half the time seeking God's face and favour that we spend seeking wealth and riches, we could literally turn this world upside down. True joy will never be found in money, but joy and happiness is the essence of God. So even in the midst of financial struggles and hardships we can find joy and contentment in our Lord. We should adopt the attitude of Agur who requested that God not give him riches, for fear that he might have too much and thus disown his God (Proverbs 30:8-9). Our riches and wealth will surely fly away, but our God is a firm Rock upon which we can always lean.
Prayer: My Lord and my Rock, we thank and praise You for the wondrous blessings You have bestowed upon us. We commit now to lean wholly upon Your solid foundation, to grab onto Your strong hand, rather than to grasp for wealth or riches that will fly away. Help us, Lord, to continually seek Your face and Your favour. Amen.