The Bare Soul
September 9, 2012
The Wings of Wealth
Proverbs 23:4 - Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it.
Francis Bacon is quoted as saying, "Be not penny-wise. Riches have wings. Sometimes they fly away of themselves, and sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more." Most have experienced either or both points of this English philosopher's admonition regarding money. When we have set our hope on wealth, it has often disappointed us. Playing the stock market can often be a risky undertaking and many can attest to Lord Bacon's observation because of bad investments. While the first part of his quote is understandable for many of us, the mention of us providing the proverbial wings to wealth is quite another. To possess a sense of control over our finances is one thing -- it is quite another to allow the income we have so deliberately built up over the years to suddenly take flight without a thorough understanding where it is heading. For Christians, this is often the case when we do not understand why the Lord is requiring us to give a certain amount to this person or to that organization. However, this is when our faith becomes apparent to others, and especially to ourselves.
We have often heard others speak about the futility of pursuing wealth. The wisest man who ever lived (besides Jesus) reflected upon the pursuit of material wealth and categorized it with similar futilities of life (Ecclesiastes 2:1-9). Throughout this diatribe, I feel quite certain Solomon was not speaking of merely material wealth. I believe it is also reflective of his admonition in our lead verse. Because of the wisdom of Solomon, I believe he understood that secure, material wealth was merely a result of solid spiritual riches. Until one has surrendered both to the Lord and for His bidding, then wealth may easily depart us as we desperately try to hang onto it and control it. However, a most incredible dynamic begins to occur once we acknowledge that wealth is not just material. We see the value of our entire lives given to God for His service. (The truly rich in life will understand.)
Jesus' disciples were astounded when their Lord told them how hard it was for a rich man to enter the kingdom (Luke 18:18-30). I believe He had much more in mind regarding earthly riches, as the example of Solomon shows us. I can visualize Jesus mourning the lack of spiritual wealth in the rich young ruler as He spoke to the disciples regarding the rich young rulers "net worth." Jesus knew the requirement for a true disciple of His was a life laid down of both material and spiritual riches for the sake of others. Otherwise, wealth would "fly away" of itself. Conversely, the Lord requires any disciple of His to set riches flying on their own through His prudent counsel. Then, these very wings that have borne away our "supposed" wealth, both spiritually and materially, will bring it back a hundred fold to further invest in Christ's kingdom.
Dictionaries misjudge the definition of wealth by limiting it to what a person can garner, materially. Wealth is actually anything which allows a person to prosper in life -- physically, mentally, or spiritually. Jesus tells us not to seek it in any form, but to seek first the kingdom of God and what we need will be given to us. Wealth will then come, as we need it, to supply first other's needs and then our own. Seeking the wealth of wisdom and that of money are equally wrong if we merely desire to waste them upon ourselves. God lavished upon us the wealth of salvation and He desires our hearts to be taken up with the same task for all mankind. Wealth will certainly take wings in every one of our lives. It is meant to fly. It is our responsibility to not let it do so without the Lordship of Jesus Christ. As Francis Bacon stated, we must set wealth flying to bring in more. This is the irony of the Gospel. We spend ourselves utterly on Jesus Christ and His will, only to become the wealthiest individuals on earth.
Lord Jesus, allow us to see with Your wisdom the riches within each of us who call You Lord. May we draw upon these to produce wealth of all kinds for everyone except ourselves. Then, may we marvel at how you have made us indescribably rich in the process. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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