There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. ~Proverbs 13:7
Our devotion this morning is one of many paradoxes of the Bible. A paradox is a statement that appears to be contradictory but, in fact, is factual and truthful. This statement catches the attention of everyone who reads it. It is a statement about being rich and poor. Most people whom I know want to be rich. Consumer-wise, being rich and having money makes us feel comfortable, satisfied, and temporarily happy. On the other hand, being poor makes us anxious and dissatisfied. Yet, the Bible tells us some very important facts about being rich and poor.
There is the making of a rich man.
The idea of being rich implies that a person has an abundance of accumulations and assets to take care of his needs for a long period of time. This abundance is relative since it is dependent upon the lifestyle needs and wants of the person. Being rich implies financial self-sufficiency and stability. Becoming rich can be accomplished through wise savings and investments, a windfall in investing, a successful business venture, or by inheritance. However, we must remember that no man is self-made. Every man’s wealth is a gift from God. Deuteronomy 8:28 reminds us, “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” No man is self-made; every rich man is God-made!
There is the munificence of a rich man.
Our text this morning is about giving. It is a paradox on giving. First, there is the greed of a rich man. “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing.” A man of greed makes money his god. His life revolves around accumulations. Yet, he has nothing. He has no happiness, no joy, no real relationships, no peace, loss of respect, and even the potential of bankruptcy. He lives on the edge and is at high risk. He can be an unbearable and miserable person. Second, there is the generosity of the rich man. The rich man who has a true and right perspective on riches and accumulations is a man who makes himself poor, yet hath great riches. This man is a very giving person. He gives away to the point where he is spending down assets and is a very frugal person. Yet, he has great riches! If you are giving away to the point where you don’t have a lot, how can you have great riches? Well, when he gives to the work of the Lord, he is sending ahead to eternity. His great riches advance the kingdom of God in seeing souls saved, helping called laborers get to their field, and helping his local church fulfill God’s will on earth. His great riches are the satisfaction that someone else is helped by his generosity. It is the reality that he helped children and adults who are in a disadvantaged situation. He has great riches!
There is the mandate for every rich man.
It is a blessing and stewardship to be rich. As a stewardship, the Bible tells us a strong mandate. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). A rich person should be more active, more altruistic, and more attentive to financial opportunities and responsibilities in the local church that he is a member of.
Are you a rich man or a poor man? Are you accumulating for your own personal gain, but, in reality, you have nothing? Or, are you giving away and, in reality, being blessed with great riches? Determine to be a giver who pleases God!
Have a generous God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Deuteronomy 21-23