The 1 %-ers

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), May 30

UnknownSolomon is born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Succeeding his father to the throne brings him more wealth than he ever dreamed. Yet Solomon does not live unaware of the dangers that accompany wealth.

  • The possession of wisdom trumps great wealth, “Happy is the man who finds wisdom . . . her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her . . . . Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor” (3:13-16).
  • Wealthy people must guard against trusting in their wealth, “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city” (10:15). “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own esteem” (18:11).
  • Righteousness, not bank account size, prepares a person for death, “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (11:4).
  • Respect outclasses wealth, “A gracious woman retains honor, but ruthless men retain riches” (11:16).
  • Vulnerability accompanies wealth, “The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, but the poor does not hear rebuke” (13:8).
  • The wealthy attract “friends,” while the poor repel them, “Wealth makes many friends, but the poor is separated from his friend” (19:4).
  • The wealthy do not “have a corner” on God, “Rich and poor have this in common; the LORD is the Maker of them all” (22:2).
  • A man may have great wealth, but have an impoverished soul, “He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he who gives to the rich—will surely come to poverty” (22:16).
  • Life is more than gathering wealth, “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (22:4-5), and, “Riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations” (27:24).

Agur’s request at the end of Proverbs demonstrates a danger that accompanies both wealth and poverty, “Give me neither poverty nor riches—Feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the LORD?” Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God” (30:8-9). Both wealth and poverty tempt men to become self-reliant.

Both poverty and wealth reveal wisdom—or its lack. The 1%-ers trust in their riches instead of the LORD; they often use their wealth to their advantage. The 99%-ers also fail to trust the LORD to provide; they use their poverty to excuse stealing.

Questions from today’s reading ( Proverbs 11:1-13:25):
How does greed in a person’s heart and activities impact the larger community?
List sinful attitudes and actions in that negatively impact community.