16 The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
Proverbs 10:15-16 (NIV) 15 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
16 The wages of the righteous is life,
but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.
Proverbs 10:15-16 (NLT) 15 The wealth of the rich is their fortress;
the poverty of the poor is their destruction.
16 The earnings of the godly enhance their lives,
but evil people squander their money on sin.
Proverbs 10:15-16 (MES) 15 The wealth of the rich is their bastion;
the poverty of the indigent is their ruin.
16 The wage of a good person is exuberant life;
an evil person ends up with nothing but sin.
Having money in this world can be a practical advantage. You can afford to provide for your family and their needs. You can afford to pay for protection such as lawyers, professionals to do what you cannot do, bodyguards. You can afford to have security to a certain extent.
Mark 10:23-25 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Job 31:24-25,28 24 If I have put my trust in gold
or called pure gold my security,
25 if I have rejoiced in my great wealth
because my hand had gained so much,...
28 this would also be an iniquity to be judged,
for I would have denied God on high.
On the other hand, having a lot of money tends to make us feel self sufficient rather than trusting in God. We become full of pride and think we can take care of ourselves. We trust in our money rather than in our God. This is arrogance. As Christians, we must be sure we keep a balanced perspective. We can be thankful for material blessings but guard against pride and keep our focus and trust in God. God should be our refuge, our fortress, our ever present help NOT our money.
Psalm 46:1-3 (BSB) 1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in times of trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth is transformed
and the mountains are toppled
into the depths of the seas,
3 though their waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake in the surge.
Wealth has its advantages and poverty its drawbacks, and the fact is honestly stated. - Cambridge Bible for Scholars
Poverty can be destructive in a real sense. Those who are poor and can't pay, have few advocates for them. Therefore they are vulnerable to the worst in society. They are taken advantage of.
...poverty exposes men to worse evils than itself, meanness, servility, and cowardice. - Barnes Notes on the Bible
The poor can become desperate, and in desperation or despair, they give in to the worst of mankind. They become drug addicts, or, to make money and become rich, drug dealers. They become prostitutes, or, to get rich, they become human traffickers pandering to every evil desire of man. Because they are greedy for what they don't have, they are willing to do anything.
On the other hand, those who are poor, may have less distractions and learn how to trust God for their every need. Rather than taking pride in their wealth and status, they can learn the valuable virtue of humility. Many poor people are spiritual giants because they have learned to trust in God as their only advocate.
Verse 16 tells us what is most important: "The earnings of the godly enhance their lives". First, who is godly? Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Remember, our sins are forgiven and we are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Of course, we also know that Christians are still vulnerable to sin. So those who are trying to stay close to God and live in a way pleasing to God, will have spiritual blessings and will be gathering treasures in Heaven.
If we are trying to live a godly life, then our God blesses us. It may be financially with better wages, promotions or better jobs. Or it may be by saving us money in some way. Or it may be spiritual blessings which far outweigh any physical or material blessings! We may learn humility, patience, trust, etc. Whatever our gain and blessing is, it comes without the worries of the world because our conscience is clear and God is giving it.
Another very practical way to see this verse is if we are saved, we are blessed by God because we are saved. You can't put a price on our salvation and eternal life! But, in addition to that, if we are trying to live a godly life, then we aren't wasting our money on sin. We aren't spending our money on booze for parties, on prostitutes for illicit sex, on drugs, gambling, hoarding,... You get my meaning? If I'm not buying hundreds of dollars in illegal drugs, I'm saving money. When people get caught for buying or selling illegal drugs or DUI's, they have to pay for lawyers, fines, and lose their job. If I'm not doing those things, I'm saving my money. If people have affairs outside their marriage and then get caught by their spouse, they are having to pay lawyer's fees, divorce expenses, alimony or child support. If I'm not doing that, I'm saving my money!
"Evil people squander their money on sin". I have seen people who make money, only to lose it by wasting it on alcohol, drugs, gambling. We have a hard time deciding if we should give to a homeless person because so many of them take that money and waste it on their sin rather than as a helping hand to get them going in the right direction again. Their poverty is a constant strain and stress so they use any money they get to try to "escape". But it just keeps them in poverty. Rather than getting out of the stressful situation, it's just a temporary escape and then it's back to the fear and stress of living homeless on the streets.
Then we've heard of people who have won some big settlement, lottery, inheritance and they are penniless in a short time because they squandered all of it. Wasted it in a round of parties with people who take advantage of them. They end up an alcoholic or drug addict with no money and no friends in a short period of time. They didn't use godly wisdom to save their money and invest wisely.
Then there is the one who may have made a lot of money and maybe trying to invest, but because they are not saved and they do not believe in God, they don't have His blessing. Their money becomes a trap to them or their investments don't pan out.
- Can you think of an example of a rich person who trusted in their wealth to save them instead of God?
- Can you think of someone who has a relationship with God and tries to handle their money wisely? They see God as their fortress and money as a blessing God has blessed them with and one they should handle according to godly wisdom.
- Can you think of an example of a poor person who has let their poverty ruin them?
- Can you think of a poor person who has a vital and fresh relationship with God and who has learned to trust God as their advocate and provider?
- How about you? Where are you in your current situation? Are you rich, poor, inbetween? How have you handled the blessings of God in your life? Have you been able to trust God as your source, provider, protector? Or have you struggled and tried to do it yourself? Are you self sufficient or God sufficient? Are you proud of what you have done for yourself or are you humbly thankful to God for what He has bestowed?
For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.