Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 23rd – Proverbs 23: Show Some Restraint!

“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.” – Proverbs 23:4

This Proverb could really save people months and years of their lives, marriages, families and relationships. How many folks have YOU known that have “risked it all” trying to make a bunch of money? I’ve known a BUNCH. I don’t know what it is about the promise of wealth, but it makes people do CRAZY things! I’ve known people in the pursuit of great wealth lose their marriage, mortgage houses, and cash in retirement accounts, completely ruining themselves financially. I’ve known some folks so desperate to climb the corporate ladder that 100+ hour weeks seem reasonable to them. It doesn’t seem to matter that their health, marriage and personal lives go in the gutter in their pursuit of wealth.

The word for labor here means: to faint, be exhausted, to toil, to tire. We should never willingly wear ourselves out to get rich. Ruining our physical bodies to make a buck is just stupid. So you get your millions, but then you die of a heart attack! The Bible tells us to NOT go about the pursuit of wealth this way, encouraging us to have wisdom that shows restraint. In our day and age if someone tries to demonstrate wisdom and show restraint they are castigated for “having no faith” or “playing it safe”. Well, say what you want, but I’ll just sit here in my nice, comfy trailer in Acworth in perfect peace, easily paying my bills and living well below my means.

But another translation of this verse reveals more:

“Do not labor to be rich; cease from your own understanding. – Proverbs 23:4

Having the “wisdom to show restraint” is translated “cease from your own understanding”. Here again we are told to forsake worldly, carnal wisdom and embrace the wisdom of God! Many times, OUR wisdom tells us to make more we must work more; as if somehow our production is directly tied to our toil. Yet God’s wisdom often tells us to work smarter, not harder. Studies have proven that laborers production falls sharply after about 50 hours of work a week. So grinding away hour after hour, week after week may NOT produce the great gains you are working for after all. 

But God has wisdom; He has a way to bless us that has nothing to do with tiredness, toil or PAIN.

“The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.” – Proverbs 10:22

Could it be that the secret to wealth is the blessing of the Lord? Why toil and struggle when you can simply receive a blessing from God?

I’ve done toil, it’s exhausting. I’m doing blessing now, it’s invigorating.

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