By Doug Hanson
It is a popular group game for getting-to-know-each-other, but one that I do not like. I have never grown accustomed to lying and that is one of the premises of the game. Some of you may have played it in youth groups or other settings: Two Truths and a Lie. As the name implies, everyone is to share two things that are true about themselves and one that is not. The object is for others to figure out which one is the lie. The best strategy is to tell two obscure truths and one believable lie. Telling a believable lie often leads to victory.
There are many believable lies in this world – lies that are mixed with truths. Fortunately, there is one source that only tells truths, and that is Scripture. Within the financial planning industry, the term “wealth” is used in many ways: some more valid than others. The good news is that Scripture provides us truthful insights into wealth. Although there are many places we can turn to in Scripture, the book of Proverbs provides us with five significant truths.
God blesses us with spiritual wealth. Proverbs 15:6 reads, “Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, but trouble is in the income of the wicked.” The righteous – those who are right-before-God – have a treasure that others do not have: spiritual blessings. These spiritual blessings are manifested in this life and for eternity – true spiritual wealth.
God blesses us with capability to gain material wealth. Proverbs 13:11 reads, “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.” God has blessed each of us with unique capabilities to build wealth, but they must be put to good use. Hard work is required to maximize whatever unique abilities and skills the Lord has blessed us with.
We should focus more on spiritual wealth than material wealth. Proverbs 13:7 reads, “One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” Here we are reminded that it is more important to store up treasures in heaven than riches on Earth. We can strive to do both, but we must keep the right perspective lest we end up pretenders with nothing.
We should spend our material wealth in a godly manner. Proverbs 29:3 reads, “The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted.” Spending money on prostitutes may not be a temptation for us, but there are certainly other ways that we can waste our wealth by focusing on self-gratification. We should filter all spending decisions through God’s Word.
We should gain our material wealth in a godly manner. Proverbs 28:22 reads, “A person with an evil eye hurries after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.” The mental picture of an “evil eye” conjures up images that are not pleasant, ones that do not honor the Lord. We need to be careful how we earn wealth – and how we invest wealth – since both contribute to gaining wealth.
We should filter all financial decisions through Proverbs 3:9 – “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with your first fruits of all your produce.” Notice the “and” in the middle of the verse. Giving of our “first fruits” is important, but it is only part of the picture. We are also to “honor the Lord” in all aspects of our finances, including how we build wealth. In America, where we focus on self-sufficiency – especially when it relates to building wealth – we can easily neglect making God a priority in our investments. Our Heavenly Father cares for us deeply and wants us to appropriate the full blessings He has for us. God wants us to invest and build wealth (Matthew 25:14-30), but only in a manner that makes Him a priority and honors Him.
The teachings on “wealth” in Proverbs should cause each of us to take a second look at our priorities. We would be remiss if we followed the believable lies of the world and focused more on earthly wealth than heavenly wealth. We would also be remiss if we obscured the truth and distanced Scripture from how we handle our earthly wealth. Let us not live a life of wealth-remiss!
Doug Hanson is an investment advisor with Christian Wealth Management in Boise, providing biblically responsible investment advice to Christians. For more information, visit investforthegloryofgod.com or contact him at [email protected] or (208) 697-3699.