Tag Archives: Money

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

Proverbs 8:10-11 – What do you treasure? What dominates your thoughts and affections?

gold and weight scaleThe Book of Proverbs is filled with Solomon’s repeated exhortation to his son to receive instruction, choose knowledge and walk in the way of wisdom. In today’s proverbs, Solomon describes the enduring value of wisdom.

Proverbs 8:10-11 – “Receive [lay hold; seize] my instruction [reproof; correction], and not silver; and knowledge [cunning; discernment] rather than choice gold. 11 For wisdom [discernment to make right choices] is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired [wealth; possessions; fame] are not to be compared to it[wisdom].”

Solomon is not suggesting that silver, gold and precious jewels have no value; however, they represent that which is earthly and temporal. Wealth and possessions provide pleasure, but they cannot buy happiness. Money in the bank offers security, money cannot buy happinessbut it cannot give peace. Precious jewels might capture the eyes with its facets reflecting light, but they cannot give light to the eye when one’s life has expired.

A wise man recognizes the temporal value of wealth and possessions and sets his heart to receive instruction and accept correction. His passion is for wisdom, not wealth; therefore he treasures the eternal over earthly treasures.

What do you treasure? Where is your heart? What dominates your thoughts 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.”treasure

Proverbs 18:23-24 – Spiritual lessons for the rich, the poor and friends

charityThe poor, a man or woman of minimum means, whether a consequence of foolish choices or a result of troubles, knows all too well the humility of need and often the humiliation of rejection.

Proverbs 18:23 – “The poor [destitute; needy; impoverished] useth [speaks; declares] intreaties [supplications; appeals to the heart; prays]; but the rich answereth [speak; respond] roughly [harshly; strong].

Americans are, by world standards, a rich people. Living in the midst of plenty, there is a danger that we might develop a callousness that not only turns away the petition of the poor, but also treat them with disdain. How easy it is to forget we would have nothing apart from God’s grace.

Let us not forget we reap what we sow and, knowing Christ has promised we will be the benefactors of the same, let us claim the joy of showing mercy and compassion.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

Proverbs 18:24 is an oft quoted proverb; however, I believe the application is often misinterpreted.

Proverbs 18:24 – “A man that hath friends [i.e. many friends; friend of many] must shew himself friendly [lit. to spoil or break in pieces; to make good for nothing; to do evil]: and there is [stands out; exists] a friend [beloved; love; i.e. The love between parents and their children] that sticketh [cleaves to;  join to] closer than a brother [relative; countryman; friend].”family

Notice the first half of the proverb has a potential negative application rather than the positive incitement often attributed to it. Briefly stated, a man with many friends may invariably find himself a slave to their whims, demands and opinions. Friendships driven by one’s need rather than one’s desire to serve, tend to be self-serving and detrimental.

Who is this friend that “sticketh closer than a brother”? Who is this one who, unlike the fair-weather friend that proposes friendship as long as it serves his/her need, is a friend who cleaves to you when everyone deserts you? Such a friend is rare.

David and Jonathan had such a friendship in the Old Testament. It is said of Jonathan that he, though the son of King Saul, loved David “as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18:1-4). Some have foolishly attempted to paint this friendship as something other than what it was—a mutual bond of love and respect based on the spiritual character of two men. In fact, the self-sacrificing bond between the two was so great that Jonathan accepted David as Israel’s next king at the sacrifice of his own legitimate claim to the throne (1 Samuel 23:16-18)!

This bond of love that is closer than that of brother’s is applicable, in my opinion, to the special bond a son or daughter might develop with their parents in their adult years. To see the parental bond with an adult child blossom into friendship and mutual respect is a wondrous thing.

God's loveFinally, recognizing Christ was said to be “a friend of publican and sinners” (Luke 7:34), we realize there is no greater friend of man than Christ Who not only loves us, but also died for us bearing the penalty and shame of our sin (Romans 5:8).

John 15:13-14 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Proverbs 28:23-24 – Guilt is a sorry excuse for enabling a fool

parental correctionPatience is required for some proverbs to be proven and come to pass.  Proverbs 28:23 is an example of that fact.

Proverbs 28:23 – “He that rebuketh [reprove; correct; chasten; judge] a man afterwards [follow] shall find [meet; get; attain] more favour [grace; kindness] than he that flattereth [separate; divide to; smoother; charm; please] with the tongue [language].”

The recipient of a “rebuke” does not enjoy correction when it is given; however, the passing of time vindicates the admonisher whose wise reproof is motivated by love and compassion.

My friend, the person who flatters you for favor may earn your shallow friendship, but it is the one who loves your soul enough to speak Truth that you will one day cherish.

Proverbs 28:24 states a truth too many parents have suffered.

Proverbs 28:24 – “Whoso robbeth [spoil; take away; consume; seize] his father or his mother, and saith [answer; speak; tell], It is no transgression [sin; rebellion; trespass]; the same is the companion [fellow; associate; united; knit together] of a destroyer [corrupt man].”Just say No!

I have heard the horror stories of older, well-meaning parents who, whether out of love or guilt, allowed a son or daughter to ravage their life savings and retirement on the dissipations of sins and lawlessness.

Mom and dad, your adult son or daughter may choose the path of a fool; however, you share in their sins when you refuse to recognize they are who their friends are [a “companion” is one who shares the same character and bent].

Be forewarned: A fool has no regret for his wicked ways and feels no gratitude for those who support and enable him.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 22:14-16 – Three proverbial warnings for adulterers, neglectful parents and financial bullies

dangersWarnings concerning the way of the immoral and their tragic end is a frequent theme in Proverbs.  Proverbs 22:14 is one of many proverbs that declares the path of forbidden lusts will inevitably lead to destruction.

Proverbs 22:14 – “The mouth [words; speech] of strange [profane; adulterous] women is a deep pit [ditch; place of humiliation; i.e. moral danger]: he that is abhorred [angry; indignant] of the LORD shall fall [cast down; fail] therein.”divorce

In an earlier proverb Solomon warned his son that the flattery of immoral women is sweet and enticing as honey (Proverbs 5:3-4); however, the way of an adulterer invites the judgment of God  and often leads to an early grave (Proverbs 5:5).

Proverbs 22:15 – “Foolishness [silliness; arrogance; stupidity] is bound [knit together; leagued together; conspired] in the heart [mind; desire; understanding] of a child [youth; lad]; but the rod [staff; scepter; smiting stick] of correction [instruction; chastisement; warning] shall drive it far [remove; distant] from him.”

I address Proverbs 22:15 with caution because it has become a flash point of debate and misunderstanding by those who take its application to extremes.  Solomon is not advocating child abuse; however, he is warning parents that foolishness is the natural bent of the child’s heart apart from instruction and loving discipline. disciplinePity the child who grows up in a home where “the rod of correction” is neglected and parents abdicate their responsibility to train and direct their child’s will on a path of righteousness.    Such neglect produces a fool, heaps shame upon the mother (Proverbs 29:15) and sets a child’s undisciplined soul on a path to hell (Proverbs 23:13-14).

The role of a loving parent is that of instructor and disciplinarian; however, such a role must be administered out of love for the child and concern for their soul (Hebrews 12:6-8).

Proverbs 22:16 – “He that oppresseth [deceive; wrong; defraud; get by violence] the poor [needy; weak; helpless] to increase [multiply] his riches, and he that giveth deliver; give place] to the rich, shall surely come to want [need; poverty].

Proverbs 22:16 is a timeless proverb that is as applicable to our day as when Solomon stated it 3000 years ago.  The poor continue to be the victims of those who desire to enrich themselves by their helpless state.  Unable to defend themselves, they fall prey to men and women whose consciences are seared by a lust for riches.   corporate ladderOppressors of the poor court the favor of the rich and powerful, but often come to a shameful, impoverished end themselves.  As some have observed, “Be careful who you step on when climbing the corporate ladder because you will inevitably meet them on your way back down!”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 6:4-5 – Common Sense for the Common Man

contractIn today’s devotional we return to my theme for Proverbs 6, “Common Sense for the Common Man”Proverbs 6:1-5 addresses the folly of becoming a surety for another man’s debt [co-signing on someone’s loan, assuming legal responsibility for their indebtedness].

In our March 6 study of Proverbs 6:1-3,  we stated the following principles:

1.      To become surety for friend or family is risky (6:1a).

2.      To become surety for a “stranger” is folly (6:1b).

3.      To become surety for another’s debt is a snare (6:2).

4.      You should seek relief of your commitment for another’s debt as soon as possible (6:3).

credit cardWhy is Solomon stressing the danger of being a co-signer to another’s debt?

The answer: It puts your good name and fiscal wellbeing at risk. Too many parents and grandparents have lost everything because they allowed their children and grandchildren to guilt them into an unwise financial obligation.  Co-signing for credit cards, automobiles, home loans or loaning money for investment ventures has cost family members their health and life savings; sending many to an early grave.

Proverbs 6:4-5 continues the same admonition: Get out from the financial yoke of another’s debt without delay!

Proverbs 6:4-5 – “Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber [drowsiness] to thine eyelids. 5 Deliver thyself [rescue; pluck] as a roe [gazelle] from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.”

gazelleSolomon’s admonition: Not even sleep (6:4) should be cause for dawdling in seeking freedom from another’s debt. Like a gazelle’s escape from her hunter or a bird’s flight from her fowler [a hunter of birds], flee the entrapment of being a surety for another (6:5).  There you have it—common sense in the matter of financial indebtedness!

A practical conclusion:  1) For the borrower, don’t guilt your loved ones into co-signing for your debt.  2) For loved ones wrestling with co-signing for another—like a gazelle taking flight from the hunter, flee the temptation—Don’t Do It!

Proverbs 24:27 – “Plan your work and work your plan.”

how much - question in letterpress type“Paying one’s dues” and doing things in a proper, systematic order is the subject of Proverbs 24:27.   The setting for illustrating the parable is a rural, working farm; however, I am also inclined to believe the context is not only constructing a house, but also taking a wife and beginning a home.

Proverbs 24:27 – “Prepare [establish; fix; set in order; establish; make ready] thy work [workmanship; labor; business] without [abroad; outside; i.e. in the street or highway], and make it fit [ready; prepared] for thyself in the field [land; country]; and afterwards build [set up; construct; repair] thine house [household; family; home; residence].”

In a lesson on discipleship (Luke 14:28), Jesus challenged His followers to compare the discipline of a man who counts the cost before commencing a construction project with the life-changing decision of leaving all to be His disciple.  It is that same principle of preparation and due diligence Solomon taught his son in Proverbs 27:24.

In a brief explanation: Plan and prepare before you build a house, take a wife and establish a family.  “Prepare thy work” [pursue your career and means to support a household]; “make it fit” [do your diligence to make adequate provision]; “afterwards build thine house” [then take a wife, set up your home and begin a family].

Although a simple, common sense principle, Proverbs 24:27 is often overlooked in our day of “fast foods” and immediate gratification.  I know few, who have the discipline and self-denial to set their personal and financial lives in order, establish a career, make a well-thought plan and then begin a family.  Too many rush into life-changing decisions without godly counsel, the maturity to bear the yoke of adulthood independent of their parents and having counted the cost.  Solomon’s challenge is fulfilled in a well-worn adage: “Plan your work and work your plan.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 14:23-25 – “Talk is cheap…” and other bits of wisdom

talk is cheapProverbs 14:23 – “In all labour [painful toil; sorrow] there is profit [gain; plenty; abundance]: but the talk [spoken word; speech; discourse] of the lips [language; vain talk] tendeth only to penury [poverty; want].”

You have heard it said “Talk is cheap!” and that is the point Solomon made to his son 3,000 years ago.  Generally speaking, a person disciplined in life will profit from their diligence; however, those who are “all talk and no action” have only themselves to blame when they become disenchanted and dissatisfied with their state in life. If you want to build muscle…go to the gym.  If you aspire to play a musical instrument, prepare yourself for years of practice.  If you want to be successful in a career, remember profit and success come only at great sacrifice. Stop talking and get to work!

Proverbs 14:24 – “The crown [honor; reputation; reward] of the wise [skillful; practical; prudent; wise in the ways of God] is their riches [wealth; rich in wisdom; prosperous]: but the foolishness [silliness; folly; violating the Law of God] of [fat-headed; stupid; self-confident] fools is folly [silliness; folly; violating the Law of God].”crown

Wise men and women are rare in our day.  You can buy a good education and acquire a lot of knowledge; however, neither of those buy you what no amount of money can afford—godly wisdom and discernment.  The ungodly are fools for having rejected God and His Law.  They play the fool and their folly is on display for all to see in both their words and actions.  The wise are remembered for their wisdom, but fools for their stupidity.

Proverbs 14:25 – “A true [trustworthy; faithful; right] witness [one giving testimony] delivereth [recover; rescue; save] souls [lives; man; person]: but a deceitful [false; fraud] witness speaketh [kindles; i.e. fans a fire; utter; breathe] lies [falsehood; liar].”

An honest, sincere, faithful man is rare indeed!  He knows the power of words and appreciates his testimony has the power to deliver the innocent out of trouble and damn the guilty to judgment.

faithful witnessHowever, a liar is a liar, is a liar.  It is in his character, his spiritual DNA to lie, deceive, distort and mislead. He speaks lies for it is his nature.  Like the god of this world, a liar lies because he is like his “father, the devil…When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).  A liar cares little the sorrow he causes or the innocent souls who are wrongfully punished by his false witness.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 13:22-23 – Some things are worth more than money!

legacyWe will consider two proverbs from Proverbs 13.  The first proverb, Proverbs 13:22, challenges us to consider the legacy we will leave our children and grandchildren.

Proverbs 13:22 – “A good [better; best; pleasing; prosperous] man leaveth an inheritance [character: good legacy; material: substance; possessions] to his children’s children [son or daughter; grandson; subject]: and the wealth [virtue; valor; strength; might; substance] of the sinner [condemned; offender; sinful] is laid up [hidden; secret; hoarded; treasured] for the just [righteous man; upright].”   

Two characters of men are the subject of verse 22, a “good man” offering us insight into his spiritual and moral character and “the sinner” whose legacy is one of sin and wickedness.  Our first inclination is a consideration of the “good man” and his material wealth; however, parents leave their children far more than temporal possessions.

A “good man”, a noble man who loves his children, longs to pass on to his heirs not only his substance, but also his passions.   Riches are fleeting; however, godly character is enduring.  A “good man” heeds Christ’s exhortation and knows earthly treasures are just that—earthly (Matthew 6:19-20); however, a heart that treasures the things of God will leave his heirs a rich and godly legacy (Matthew 6:33-34).Proverbs13.22

The contrast of the “good man” is a sinner whose heart is invested in the temporal and whose substance is wasted on the dissipation of sinful pleasures.  Drugs, drunkenness and sexual immorality consume the wealth and talents of the sinner, leaving his heirs with nothing but the curse of their godless legacy.  What legacy are you leaving your children and grandchildren?

Proverbs 13:23 “Much [great; abundance; plenty] food [meat; eating] is in the tillage [plowing] of the poor [perhaps a debtor or renter of a field]: but there is [substance] that is destroyed [consumed; snatched away] for want [no] of judgment [injustice; law; judicial verdict].”

The poor are often so, not because of a lack of opportunity, but a lack of wisdom.  Too many in our society bury themselves in debt and become servants of those who made rich by their labor.  Like a farmer renting the fields of another, he begins in debt farmer plowingeven before he has begun to plow.  A poor man may reap a great harvest for his labor; however, if he is a debtor, he is subject to the injustices that accompany indebtedness.

My friend, you may not have riches and possessions, but you can choose to be rich in godly character and pass to your heirs riches money cannot buy—godly wisdom rooted in your love for Christ and His Word.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith

Proverbs 11:24-26 – You poor, stingy old soul

scroogeProverbs 11:24-26 challenges us with the familiar spiritual principle “Sowing and Reaping” (Galatians 6:7).  To state the principle as a common analogy—We not only reap what we sow, we also reap in proportion to how much we sow!

Proverbs 11:24 – “There is that scattereth [disperses], and yet increaseth [adds to; surpass]; and there is that withholdeth [keeps back; refrain; reserves; i.e. keep back for oneself] more than is meet [right; upright; due], but it tendeth to poverty [want; need; lack].”

A farmer decides in the spring not only what he hopes to reap at harvest time, but also how much he hopes to store up for winter.  He must determine not only what seeds to plant, but also the amount of seed he needs to sow to reach his harvest goal.   A farmer who hoards seed is a foolish farmer because he fails to value the potential of life and multiplication represented in one seed and the possible threat of insects and mold in his storage bins.  Such a farmer does indeed risk coming to poverty!businessman with his arms wide open in rural field

Herein is the challenge for both the farmer and by way of application, the Christian.  A hoarding farmer is a fool as is a Christian who hoards and fails to be a steward of God’s overflowing abundance in his life.  Two arenas come to mind when I read verse 24–Financial stewardship and the stewardship of ministry, talents and opportunities.  Too many Christians hoard money and are blind to their responsibility to give the excess God entrusts to them by investing in God’s work and ministry.  Some are leaving their children a wealthy inheritance, but entering heaven as little more than  spiritual paupers.   What a tragedy to have the means to be a blessing, but choose to withhold from the Lord, His church and servants “more than is meet” (11:24).

Proverbs 11:25 – “The liberal [blessed; prosperous] soul [life; person; heart] shall be made fat [satisfied; prosperous]: and he that watereth [to quench the thirst of another; satisfy; fill] shall be watered [rain; flow as water; moisten] also himself.

Solomon continues his lesson on stewardship by stating a proverb that is full of promise—an abiding sense of joy and satisfaction is God’s reward to the man who is generous out of what God has entrusted to him.seed

God promises, give out of what He gives you and you will never want!  Be a conduit of God’s blessings to others and know God will refresh your soul.  Like an overflowing water fountain promising cool, refreshing water, let your life flow forth the time, talents and gifts God has entrusted to you.

Proverbs 11:26 – He that withholdeth [keep back; deny; restrain] corn [grain; i.e. wheat], the people [nation; community] shall curse [blaspheme; pierce] him: but blessing [prosperity] shall be upon the head [chief; top; ruler] of him that selleth [buy and sell grain] it.”

I often wonder why men and women of wealth wait until they die before bestowing on their loved ones those things that could be blessing and comfort to their heirs and a source of joy and satisfaction to the bestower while they are alive.

Why do Christians blessed with abundance watch their church and Christian ministries struggle?  Why hoard more than you need knowing faithful servants are praying for God to bless and sustain their family and ministry?

Dear friend, that stingy soul of yours is a curse when it could be a blessing.  How tragic!

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith