The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Thrift
How the Poor Become Rich
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
This verse might be labeled “How to make money the old-fashioned way.” Anything that comes too easily won’t be greatly valued. That’s one danger of giving a young person an inheritance too early in life (20:21). There is also a danger of running after some get-rich-quick scheme-the kind usually advertised in a late-night infomercial (28:20). But let a person toil and sweat to earn a paycheck and he will think twice before blowing it on some frivolous expenditure.
“Dishonest money dwindles away.” According to the Bible, there are three legitimate ways to get money. First, you can work for it (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Second, you can make money through wise investments (Luke 19:11-27). Third, you can receive a gift or an inheritance (2 Corinthians 12:14). There is no fourth category, such as gambling.
Gambling is not work, for the gambler hopes to make money without working at all. Gambling is not an investment, for the gambler creates an artificial risk, hoping to make easy money. Gambling is not a gift, for the money is won from the losers, not given as a gift.
Why, then, do people gamble? They gamble because they think that with just a little bit of luck, they will win. And it doesn’t matter whether the prize is ten dollars or ten thousand dollars, the motivating force is still the same. Gambling offers a shortcut, a way to get ahead quickly, a way to make some easy money.
Contrast that with the biblical principle of contentment. Consider Philippians 4:11 b-13:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
That last verse is often lifted out of the immediate context and used as a kind of spiritual pep pill. But taken in connection with the preceding verses, the meaning is that the Christian can find contentment in every situation through the power of the indwelling Christ.
Please understand. Contentment does not mean passive acceptance of a bad situation. It does not mean that I shouldn’t try to better myself. Contentment is not the opposite of ambition. But contentment does mean that if I find myself in a difficult position, I will thank God for the opportunity to trust Him, I will use every legitimate means to improve the situation, but I will not fall into the trap of trying to take shortcuts in order to find an easy way out.
For those wishing to build their net worth, Solomon’s advice is simple but very effective: “He who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” This applies equally to savings or to investing. Take time, start small, work hard, learn the principles of investing, seek wise counsel, and most of all, don’t throw your money away, either through greed, gullibility, or gambling.
In the fable of the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise won because he just kept plodding along. Be a tortoise and watch your money grow.
Lord, make me a tortoise when I am tempted to be a hare. Amen.
Have you ever gambled with your own money? If so, what happened?
What practical steps could you take to develop a thriftier lifestyle?
By nature are you more like the tortoise or the hare?
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