I wanted to post a four part series on Proverbs and Wealth: An Overall Look at What Proverbs Has to Say About Money and Wealth. [This series will be a little different from my normal writing as it was intended to be a 35–40 minute sermon.]
Given the fact that we are in a series in Proverbs, I figured I would share my definition on wisdom. I have come to understand wisdom as, “the applied theology of life rooted in the glory of God.” In other words, wisdom is “living life the way God intended it to be lived.”
In addition, I think it may be helpful, especially in light of the topic on Proverbs and wealth, to remember as one author put it,
“When we come across proverbs throughout Scripture, we must always remember that the very rhetorical and literary form that they comprise enunciates generalizations, not absolute truths. A proverbs depicts what normally happens, all other things being equal.” (Craig Blomberg, Christians in an Age of Wealth)
Given that money can be a sensitive topic, let me be quick to say: My wife and I don’t have all of this figured. We are growing and being sanctified in our understanding and use of money. In fact, what I have studied has challenged me in so many ways, and on so many levels.
Dunkin Donut’s motto may be, “America Runs on Dunkin.” But although that is a cute slogan, that’s not the truth. The truth of the matter is, “America runs on money.”
Years ago, during the 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist, James Carville, quoted the following phrase: “It’s the economy stupid!”
The whole gist of the phrase meant that most Americans—at least of voting age— care deeply about their finances, about their money.
Many Americans understand that the economy has a broad impact on many facets of their lives—including their wages, employment status, and their future.
Just to refresh your memory, economy can be defined as: A system of how money is made and used within a particular country or region. In addition, economy is the all-encompassing activity related to production, consumption, and trade of goods and services in an area.
There are at least four types of economies:
- Traditional/Small—oldest…more rural based economy
- Command—Socialism and communism would fit under this cat
- Market—free market capitalism
- Mixed—Social democracy (mixture of capitalism and socialism)
I bring this up, because much of the political jostling and some of the tensions that have arisen in the past (like Occupy Wall Street) and that still exist, revolve around the economy.
Take this presidential election coming up. There’s a lot of talk about socialism and capitalism. And it seems to be very much part of the dividing lines of our two political parties.
Socialists believe capitalism has flaws and has ultimately failed.
Capitalists believe socialism has flaws and has ultimately failed elsewhere.
Here’s what is also interesting about this divide. It seems to be generational—not just political. Look at two recent polls that shows the disparity between how millennials and GenZ and Boomers view socialism and capitalism. (click on the image to see original source.)
It also has been interesting over the years to hear people try and fit Jesus into one of their political and economic boxes. They’ll say things like, “Jesus was a socialist; no, no, Jesus was a capitalist!”
And what our study on Proverbs and Wealth will (hopefully) do is BUST both myths. Jesus was neither a socialist or a capitalist—for the wisdom in Proverbs constructs a very different understanding on money and wealth. In fact, we will see another economy emerge and that is God’s Economy.
There are so many verses in Proverbs that address money and wealth—that address the concept of economy. To study for this message, I literally wrote down every verse by hand that dealt with money and wealth, which were well over 85 verses, and then went back and color coded them by themes.
After having spent some time writing out the verses, dividing them into themes, and pouring over the themes, here’s the main point that I arrived at:
A wealth of wisdom makes one wise towards wealth.Tweet
To unpack this principle, there will be three questions we’ll answer. First question will be in Part 2.