Money is powerful. It’s a determining factor in where we live, what we eat, what we wear, and often what we do with our days. So we would be wise to consider how we can manage our money well.
But even more than that, in order to live a joyful and God-honoring life, we need to exercise wisdom in how we relate to money—how we feel about it, what space it has in our hearts, and how it factors into our relationship with Jesus. This conversation consumes key facets of our lives.
That’s probably why the bible talks about money so much. There’s so much to consider and seek to get right. In particular, throughout the Proverbs, Solomon gives us advice on a number of key topics related to money. Since he was both one of the richest and wisest men to ever live, we would be wise to listen to his words and apply them to our lives.
Here are seven money lessons from the ancient wisdom of the Proverbs.
1. Wealth Is a Good Thing, but It Isn’t the Ultimate Thing.
Too often, Christians assume that money is inherently evil. But what Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:10 isn’t that money is the root of all kinds of evil, but that an unhealthy love for it is.
Wealth, when you obtain it by honorable means, is actually a sign of God’s blessing on your life and the work that you do.
The blessing of the Lord brings wealth,
without painful toil for it.
Sometimes, God multiplies your efforts and gives you a return disproportionate to what you could have hoped or dreamed for. And that’s a good thing. You should be grateful to God for it.
But you should also always bear in mind that this blessing isn’t a guarantee. While God’s grace and his provision in your life will be a constant, he never promised us lifelong financial freedom. We live in a fallen world, and wealth is ultimately fleeting.
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.
Sometimes, you find yourself in financially difficult situations due to poor choices. But, other times, a person’s money seems to fly away through no fault of their own. In either case, wealth is a divine blessing but never a sure thing.
2. Greed is Toxic.
Throughout the Proverbs, Solomon sternly warns us against greed—especially when that greed causes us to deal underhandedly with others.
The greedy bring ruin to their households,
but the one who hates bribes will live.
If you’re motivated by greed, you will ultimately end up in a place where you self-destruct. And when you self-destruct, you tend to take down everyone around you. You’ll also stir up conflict wherever you go.
The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper.
No one wants to be around someone who is going to penny-pinch them. A person who’s obsessed with always “getting what they deserve” or “what’s owed” to them is typically a toxic person.
3. Debt is Dangerous.
Regardless of how much money you make or how hard you work, debt will always be a limiting factor in your financial goals. Those to whom you owe money have considerable control over your life.
The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is slave to the lender.
Sometimes, debt is unavoidable. Few of us can pay for our college educations, commute vehicles, or homes simply by writing a check. And it would be unreasonable to assume that we could–especially if you’re young and just starting out.