Theme of the Week: Let’s Begin! Wisdom that Works
Bible Verse: Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce. Proverbs 3:9 ESV
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 3:9-12
Here we are at the two opposite extremes of life—when the good times roll and when hardship strikes. When life is sweet, trusting God with all our hearts feels unnecessary.
When life is bitter, trusting God with all our hearts feels impossible. We need wisdom for those seasons in life when we are on top and for those seasons in life when nothing is going right. God is with us in both, with a wisdom that makes a positive difference.
In Proverbs 3:9–12, God leads us to trust him wholeheartedly when we are pushed out to these two opposite edges of our lives—plenty and pain.
The sage gives us his counsel (v. 9), with an incentive (v. 10). What is his counsel? “Honor the LORD with your wealth.”
The Hebrew verb translated “honor” means “to treat the Lord as weighty.”1 The root of the verb means “to be heavy,” even as we today might say that a person carries social weight. That is what money communicates—prestige, rank, importance. It is all around us every day.
In my part of God’s world, the Nashville area may be one of the most intense concentrations of money in the history of the human race. Whose prestige is that money enhancing? The sad truth is, we honor ourselves with our money, and the Lord gets second best if he is lucky. But wisdom changes us. Wisdom is saying, “Make the Lord famous and prominent by means of your wealth. Use your money to increase his prestige in your world.”
Why is using our money for Christ wise? Because the more we use our money for self-importance, the sillier we look. The pretense of it, the love of appearances, the overreaching—we do that because money has an almost mystical power over us. But how many castles in Europe are still lived in by the families that built them? Self-importance is unsustainable. But the more we heap prestige on Jesus by our money, the more weighty and significant and relevant we become. We become serious people. We impact history. That is the irony of wisdom.
1 Bruce K. Waltke and M. O’Connor, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN : Eisenbrauns, 1990), 24.2f-h.
Taken from Proverbs: Wisdom That Works by Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., © 2012. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, crossway.org.
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