The Application of Wisdom: Stewardship (Part 2)

Notes on Proverbs

Our Attitude Toward Riches

According to the words of Agur, there is a balance which we must strike in our attitude toward riches.

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God” (30:8-9).

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The Application of Wisdom: Stewardship (Part 1)

Notes on Proverbs

Stewardship refers to how we use the money and possessions we have. The book of Proverbs contains instructions that help us know how to be wise stewards of those things which we have.
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Why the Righteous Do Not Beg

Workers

The psalmist had an interesting observation regarding the state of the righteous and how they were blessed by God.

I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).

This is not to be interpreted as an absolute statement. There may be times when godly people are in such dire straits that they have no other option than to beg. Lazarus was one example of this. We know he was righteous because when he died he was “carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” to enjoy a place of paradise (Luke 16:22). Yet during life, he was “a poor man…covered with sores” who longed “to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table” (Luke 16:20-21). After he died, because he was righteous, he was “comforted” in a place of paradise (Luke 16:25).

Although there are exceptions, generally speaking, those who are righteous will be far less likely to have to beg than others. Even now when God no longer operates miraculously as He did during Bible times, the psalmist’s statement is generally true. Why is that? There are several reasons we can find in the Scriptures that explain why the righteous, in general, do not beg.
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The Poor Widow’s Oil

A poor widow came to Elisha after her husband died. She was in desperate need of any help the prophet could give her. She cried out to him, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves” (2 Kings 4:1).

Before we look at some lessons from the help that Elisha gave this widow, it is important to first notice a couple of facts about her deceased husband. The text states that he was one of the “sons of the prophets,” a servant to Elisha. Furthermore, his widow testified that he “feared the Lord” (2 Kings 4:1). This was not a worthless or wicked individual. He was a faithful servant of God and His prophet.

As we read the account of Elisha helping this poor widow, we see that God made provision for her – she was miraculously given enough oil to fill every container she was able to borrow from her neighbors. She was then able to sell the oil, solving her great financial dilemma (2 Kings 4:2-7).

Now, let us notice a few lessons from this story.
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“No Lack of Gain”

[This article was written by Bryan Dockens.]

The virtuous wife” brings her husband “no lack of gain” (Proverbs 31:10-11).

While maintaining a reasonable effort to keep her husband attracted (Proverbs 5:19; Song of Songs 7:1-9), the woman of valor acknowledges the fleeting nature of outward glamour (Proverbs 31:30). Instead, she chooses to emphasize inward beauty (1st Peter 3:3-4; 1st Timothy 2:9-10) and is therefore not one to waste the family’s hard-earned income on expensive clothing, fashion accessories, or cosmetics for herself. Similarly, gym memberships and exercise equipment are not considered priority expenses (1st Timothy 4:8).
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Wasting the Teenage Years

The teenage years are an important time in one’s life. Therefore, we ought to think seriously about how these years are spent. How are parents to teach and encourage their teenage children? What should children be pursuing in their teenage years?

I read a post from Jason Hardin that got me thinking along these lines. It contained excerpts from the book, Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. I haven’t read the book, so I’m not qualified to endorse it. But the quotes that Jason shared from it were very good. The basic theme is that we, as a culture, have allowed the teenage years to evolve into a wasted time of short-sighted irresponsibility.

The way many in the world view these years is that it is a time to focus on social interactions, unrestrained fun, freedom from responsibility, and schooling – not for the purpose of life preparation, but simply for the sake of education, even if it is without direction and usefulness.
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Leaving an Inheritance to One’s Grandchildren

Grandparent

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22).

In this passage, the Proverb writer indicated that one of the marks of a good man is that he leaves an inheritance for his grandchildren.

Of course, when we study the Proverbs, it is important to remember that many of the statements are generalizations. One may be a good man and have no grandchildren to whom he can leave an inheritance. There may be financial circumstances in one’s life beyond his control that would prevent him from doing this. But in considering this passage, we should ask the question: What would it take for one to be able to leave an inheritance to his grandchildren?
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