Proverbs 22 – Monday
Proverbs 22:4 & 9
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life…
Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor.
On any given Sunday morning, I can flip on my television and find a number of ministers promising me riches, wealth, and prosperity if I only have faith. They usually then want me to practice that faith by making an offering to their ministry – “give us $5 so that God can return it to you one hundred fold.” These promises do indeed sound promising, but this prosperity gospel is not the message that our Lord came preaching.
Just like we can twist the words of Jeremiah 29:11 and John 10:10 to fit this perspective, we can also turn to Proverbs to try to find a God who rewards those who are faithful with riches, wealth, and health. But our interpretation of the Proverbs would be just as tortured if we tried to find its truth in the shallow waters of the prosperity gospel.
Rather, let’s use the Scriptures themselves to better understand the “riches and honor and life” that is promised for those who love the Lord like we find in Proverbs 22:4. Just a few verses later, we find the clarification that we need. It is the “generous” who are (hashtag) blessed.
The wealth of the Gospel of Christ lies not in storing up material wealth or riches or fame, but in sharing the material goodness that we have been given with those who don’t have them. We are blessed with lives of richness, honor, and life abundant when we give away the riches we have so that those with neither riches nor basic needs can be filled as well.
To close with a parable of Jesus, there was a man whose harvest was larger than his barn could store. He decided to build a larger barn to store his crop. However, that night he died and all his wealth was lost. I think that the point of this parable isn’t that we shouldn’t plan ahead or have large barns, but rather that when we have more than we need, we should share it instead of store it up for ourselves.
We can find life, wealth, and riches only when we are generous and give the very things we think we need to hoard.