Happy New Year everyone! Since this is a perfect time to discuss New Year’s Resolutions, I thought I would share a great resolution that was the basis of our last sermon for the year two weeks back!
God’s Practical Advice
In the book of Proverbs in particular, God has given us a book full of practical wisdom – if we live according to it things should go well for us. However, like Job and Ecclesiastes teaches us, things don’t always go how they should, but God is still there during suffering and trials.
The way to financial success is to... work
When Proverbs was written, there was a much broader definition to work than we would think of today – work is not just paid employment but busying yourself with important things that need to be done – looking after children, cleaning the house, volunteering with a charity, studying hard.
Proverbs is clear that we are to work hard at whatever role we find ourselves in and to be self-disciplined in it, that we need to work slowly and steadily and to throw out any ‘get rich quick’ schemes.
Not only are they often unethical (even if you win while gambling it is because of someone else’s loss) but if you get money without working for it then you are often ill-equipped to deal with it and won’t use it wisely – this is often the reason why big time lottery winners often return to their previous state of wealth (or lack thereof) only a few years after their big win.
As Proverbs chapter 13, verse 11 says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
The way to financial success is to… give?!
So, working to earn money seems sensible but this next proverb from Proverbs may seem a bit counterintuitive. In Proverbs chapter 11, verses 24-25, it says, “One person gives freely yet gains even more; another withholds unduly but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Sometimes this works itself out through God blessing people with material wealth (such as Boaz) because they have shown themselves to be faithful with what he had given them and were open-handed and generous and used their increased wealth to be even more open-handed and generous.
However, more often the blessings are not material, they are the blessings of contentment with what you have, joy from blessing others, and heavenly treasure stored up where it cannot be lost.
The way to financial success is to… trust God
It is a wise idea to be careful with money, to have savings in case of emergencies, to have a retirement fund, and to have various types of insurance policies but it is crucial to remember that we should not place our trust and sense of peace and well-being in our bank balance.
I struggle with the tension between being wise and prepared and trusting God fully but it is something that is essential to keep working on. God is with us and is still in charge whether we have a million dollars or are bankrupt.
It is God who gives us health to work in our jobs, God who provides us with houses to live in, and God who provides for all our needs. A wonderful quote that our pastor used during his sermons was, “Your salvation is not a new job, pay rise, or winning lotto – it is and always will be Jesus’ death and resurrection!”
As we go into this new year let us strive to say with the author of Proverbs chapter 30, verses 7-9,
Two things I ask of you Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but only my daily bread. Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonour the name of my God.”
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrap-booking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.