Poverty vs. Wealth?

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. (Proverbs 15:16 ESV)

This verse, more than any other verse in the Bible, has caused me a lot of confusion in my business pursuits.

It’s easy to read this verse and associate being a Christian or fearing the Lord with poverty. It’s also easy to assume that it’s wrong to be wealthy, and that wealthy people have strife and don’t fear the Lord.

These ideas can attack and discourage a desire to be in business for personal profit, and can introduce a feeling of guilt when the cash comes in.

What I’ve missed is that this was written to the son of Solomon, the wealthiest heir in the ancient world. Solomon is warning his son against abusing his position and power, and pleading with him to worship God first, not money.

It’s not saying money is bad. It’s saying that wisdom/fear of the Lord is much more valuable than wealth alone.

Here’s the take-away for me: Wealth in the hands of a man who fears the Lord is a very good thing. It’s something we should not be jealous of or strive against, and it’s a good thing to aspire to. But the most important thing is the fear of the Lord, not wealth, in whatever life circumstance we find ourselves.

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