Tag Archives: Money

A generous attitude commences in giving oneself.

defined-by-generosityProverbs 22:9“He that hath a bountiful [good; cheerful; gracious; pleasant] eye [attitude; character; inclination] shall be blessed [praised; thanked]; for he giveth [assign; appoint; deliver] of his bread [food; meat; fruit] to the poor [weak; needy; afflicted].”

The subject of Proverbs 22:9 is not necessarily a rich man, but a man who has a rich and generous spirit.  He sees those less fortunate than himself and is moved to give—not reluctantly or sparingly, but generously.  We should ask, “From whence does this spirit of generosity arise?”  The answer is deeply rooted in his heart and character. You see, a “bountiful eye” has nurtured a proclivity to generosity.  The reward for such generosity is the praise of God and one’s fellowman.

There is a deeper principle in this verse than the challenge to give out of one’s abundance.  A “bountiful eye” is in its essence gracious, pleasant and cheerful.  An attitude of generosity begins in giving something far more personal than material possessions—it commences in giving oneself.

You might reason if you had more to give you would be generous.  The reality is, a selfish, self-focused attitude is characteristic of the natural man.  Whether he is rich or poor, a narcissistic man will remain selfish and vain until he confesses his attitude as sin.Joy of giving

Someone reading today’s proverb has hurt and disappointed those closest to him because he is stingy with his life, time and resources.  Rather than praise, his ways have earned him the disdain of those who love and need him most.

If that is you, will you stop now and confess your sin?  Will you have the character to do the right thing and ask your loved ones to forgive you for being selfish and self-centered?

Go ahead…I dare you!

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 14:35 – The reward of a principled man

hardworkers' quoteProverbs 14:35 – The king’s favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.”

The setting of Proverbs 14:35, as with the Book of Proverbs, is within a monarchial society when the king’s word was the law of the land.   A servant was ever conscious the whims of the king might suddenly turn against him should he disappoint his master.   So it was with the butler and baker who disappointed Pharaoh and were providentially imprisoned with Joseph awaiting a sentence of death or deliverance (Genesis 40:1-4).

talentsChrist illustrated the principle for today’s proverb in His Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). In this parable Christ is the master who entrusted three servants with the oversight of his riches while he went abroad for an extended stay (Mt. 25:14-15).   The servants, each entrusted with “talents” [a monetary amount] based upon their abilities, were to invest their “talents” in their master’s absence, aware he would demand an accounting of all they had been given upon his return (Mt. 25:16-18).   Two of the three servants received commendations for their investments and their reward was an increase in their responsibilities on their master’s behalf (Mt. 25:19-23).   The third servant failed to invest the talent he had been given and was openly rebuked by the master. The unfaithful servant’s talent was taken from him and he was cast out of the master’s presence (Mt. 25:24-30).

For the sake of our application, let us set this proverb in the context of the 21st century and apply the principle to the relationship of the employer and employee.

Proverbs 14:35 – “The king’s favour [delight; pleasure; good will] is toward a wise [prudent; discreet] servant: but his wrath [anger; rage; fury] is against him that causeth shame [disappoints; deals shamefully].”

employer and employeesAn employee who fulfills his obligation has the satisfaction of pay and, should he exceed his employer’s expectations, a commendation and reward for his effort.  Such an employee is rare; however, it should be the case of those who bear Christ’s name—that our testimony at work earns both the trust and delight of our employer.

Sadly, the sorry state of America is that many employers search in vain for workers who are diligent in their work and give an honest day’s work for an honest wage.  Too many enter the work force demanding wages that exceed their skills while provoking resentment from their employer.  Such should never be said of God’s people.

May it be said of us which was said of Christ in His youth, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Now, get to work!

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 10:2-3 – The Treasuries of the Wicked and the Righteous

ProfitSolomon returns to an oft-repeated format in Proverbs 10.  Using the conjunction but, he draws a series of contrasts between two opposing thoughts throughout the chapter.  For this devotional, I will limit my examination to Proverbs 10:2-3 and contrast the wicked and the righteous.

Proverbs 10:2 – “Treasures [storehouses; depositories] of wickedness [ill-gotten gain] profit nothing [unprofitable; the wicked perish with their wealth]: but righteousness [righteous deeds; moral uprightness] delivereth [rescues] from death.”

The-Rich-Fool-1024x768Christ’s parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21) illustrates the truth Solomon is teaching his son in Proverbs 10:2. The fool’s plot and passion for wealth and possessions is never satisfied; his dream of hoarding riches to perpetuate a life of drinking and debauchery cut short by his appointment with death and God’s judgment.  The righteous man, justified by his faith and trust in the Lord, sets his affections on the eternal and is delivered from the judgment of God (John 3:16).

Proverbs 10:3 – “The LORD [Jehovah; Eternal; Self-existent] will not suffer [lit. to be hungry; suffer famine] the soul of the righteous [just; lawful; innocent] to famish [to be hungry; suffer famine]: but he casteth away [expels; drives out] the substance [desire; greed] of the wicked [ungodly; evil].”

As a reminder, Proverbs are general truths, but not guaranteed promises.  In other words, generally speaking, the truths set forth by Solomon are true, but there are exceptions in the will and purpose of God.

For example, while Proverbs 10:3 states God providentially cares for His people, some of God’s most faithful servants have suffered physically for their faith and service to God.  The apostle Paul enumerated his sufferings as the minister of Christ in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27; however, his faith sustained him and he looked past his trials.  Paul was confident that God was glorified in the extremity of his need.

ill gotten treasuresThe wicked are driven by their passions and greed, but die frustrated, unhappy and hopeless.  To make that point, I will allow the psalmist to speak:

Psalm 37:16 – “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.”

Application – It is better to be poor and declared a righteous man by God, than to be wealthy and wicked in the sight of God who tries men’s hearts and rewards them according to their deeds (Galatians 6:7-9).

Psalm 49:6-7 – “They that trust [lean on] in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7  None of them can by any means redeem his brother [and by implication, himself], nor give to God a ransom for him:”

Application – Riches and possessions might offer a man a fleeting sense of satisfaction and pleasure; however, they merit no favor with a holy God.

My friend, where is your treasure?

Matthew 6:19-21 – “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Proverbs 1:19 – Riches might buy fleeting joy, but never lasting happiness

covetousnessWe pick up Solomon’s proverbs in chapter one as he concludes his discourse on the nature of wicked men.  The king has warned, exhorted and painted in vivid words the reality that the wicked look at the naïve as sport and warned his son they desire to see him come to ruin.

Solomon draws a parallel of the enticements of the wicked with the allure of riches in Proverbs 1:19.

Proverbs 1:19 –  “So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain [covetousness and materialism]; which [greed] taketh away [to seize and plunder] the life of the owners thereof  [greed will destroy those under its power].”

Covetousness is pervasive in our society and its tentacles invade and induce all manner of sin and wickedness in man. Like a cancer left unchecked in the body, lust and greed is the cancer of the soul and will invariably destroy life and soul if fed and allowed to grow and fester.

Warning: Greed is the cause of much sorrow in our day and Christians are not exempt from its curse.

1 Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 18:11-12 – “You can’t take it with you!”

Pharaoh's tombThe Pharaohs of ancient Egypt were perhaps the most foolhardy of men when it came to defying the adage, “You can’t take it with you”.  The pyramids stand today as marvels of engineering and construction, intended to serve as shrines not only entombing Egypt’s kings, but also securing riches and possessions for life after death.  The futility of coveting riches has been borne out by the reality that, almost without exception, thieves have plundered those ancient treasuries of the dead.

In Proverbs 18:11, Solomon imparts to his son a principle concerning the rich and their wealth.

Proverbs 18:11 – “The rich man’s wealth [substance; possessions] is his strong [strength; refuge] city [i.e. walled city], and as an high [safe; strong; inaccessible] wall [fortification] in his own conceit [imagination; opinion].”King Tut

Wealth imparts to its owner a degree of temporal security; however, like all things that are earthly, riches are fleeting and the security they offer artificial.

The heart of Belshazzar was lifted up with pride behind the great walls of ancient Babylon (Daniel 5).   Boasting of his power and wealth,  the king defied the God of Heaven and treated the sacred vessels of the Temple with disdain.  The proud king realized too late that his faith in riches and the walls of Babylon would not spare him from God’s wrath and the vengeance of an enemy.

A second parable, Proverbs 18:12, sets forth a contrast between the fate of the proud and the reward of the humble.

humilityProverbs 18:12 – “Before [face; presence] destruction [breach; ruin; vexation] the heart [mind; thoughts; feelings] of man is haughty [proud; lifted up; exalted]and before honour [glory; reputation] is humility [meekness; gentleness; modesty].”

Sinful pride is part of man’s spiritual DNA and is the precursor to his destruction.  It is pride that moves a man’s spirit to defy an all-powerful God and rebel against authority.  It is pride that blinds, binds and inevitably demands God’s judgment (James 4:6).

While the proud follow a path of self-destruction, the humble and meek find favor with God and man.

I close with two verses I invite you to ponder.

Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Proverbs 15:33 – “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 13:25 – How satisfied are you?

are you happyProverbs 13:25 “The righteous [Just; Lawful; Innocent] eateth [devours; consumes] to the satisfying [satisfaction; fullness; abundance] of his soul [life; being; heart]: but the belly [body; being] of the wicked [ungodly] shall want [lack; not be satisfied].”

Reading Proverbs 13:25 leaves me wondering how many of those who call upon the name of the Lord are genuinely satisfied and content in their souls.  How easy it is to see the wicked appear to prosper while the godly sacrifice and live in moderation.  The former indulges the flesh, while the latter comes to realize the temporalness of earthly pleasures.

Proverbs 13.25Solomon taught his son that the righteous, those who love the Lord and His Law, know contentment in their soul earthly treasures cannot afford.  The wicked, however, like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-14), realize too late that the pleasures of this world are fleeting and the “belly of the wicked” is never satisfied.

My friend, if you struggle with contentment and your heart is anxious, take time and examine upon what you have set your eyes and affections.

Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 11:29 – Godly principles for leaving an inheritance

willProverbs 11:29 – “He that troubleth [stirs up trouble & conflict] his own house shall inherit the wind [receives nothing in inheritance]: and the fool shall be servant [rather than inherit wealth and be served] to the wise of heart.”

Proverbs 11:29 offers insight into what I will describe as “those things that ought to be, but sometimes are not.”

It “ought to be” when a child or loved one has been a heartache and trouble throughout their life they should expect nothing upon the reading of a relative’s will; or as Solomon states, they should “inherit the wind” (11:29a).  Sadly, I have observed many well-meaning parents and grandparents who left an inheritance to family members who gave them nothing but trouble in their lifetime and deserved nothing when they died.  Those sorry souls proceeded to waste in a few short months all they were bequeathed!money

To my elderly friends I advise, leaving anything more than “the wind” to an undisciplined, rebellious soul is not only poor stewardship, it will also be a curse to your loved one who refuses to manage their lives let along your treasures and wealth when you are gone.

Continuing the same theme regarding the stewardship of an inheritance, in God’s economy the “fool shall be servant to the wise of heart” (11:29b).  So it was in ancient times that the wealthy father of a fool would reward a faithful servant an inheritance and the rich man’s foolish son would become subservient to his father’s slave.

Unfortunately, in America’s 21st century economy politicians give little thought to godly stewardship and biblical principles. By a “death tax” [a tax on an estate on top of the taxes death taxa man has paid in his lifetime] hardworking families lose their properties and wealth or are forced to buy expensive life insurance policies to pay taxes that fund programs that reward the foolish, lazy and unmotivated.

By the way, God does have a welfare policy for fools: “…if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith