Peanut Gallery: During the month of June we are reading through the Book of Proverbs, one chapter per day. “Growing in Character” is the theme; each day we will look for practical advice on living a wise and godly life in this present age.
I recommend that you begin by reading through the entire chapter for the day yourself (a link will be included, see below.) There is something for everyone in the Book of Proverbs. I will focus on what speaks to me in the chapter and follow that theme for the day. But the verse that speaks to me, on any particular day, may be different from the wisdom God has for you… and you don’t want to miss out.
Growing in Character: Proverbs 23
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening sentence and prayer
One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Open my eyes, Lord, to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Psalm 119:18 (NLT)
A reading from Proverbs: Proverbs 23:4-5 (NLT)
Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.
A reading from the Gospels: Matthew 6:19-21 (NLT)
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
A reading from the Letters: 1 Timothy 6:18-19 (NLT)
Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
Excerpts from – Theology of Work Project – full article here
“Store your treasure in heaven, not on earth” (Matthew 6:19-34)
“Treasures in heaven” are things of worth in God’s coming kingdom, such as justice, opportunity for everyone to be productive, provision for everyone’s needs, and respect for the dignity of every person. The implication is that we would do better to invest our money in activities that transform the world, than in securities that protect our accumulated surplus.
Is it wrong, then, to have a retirement portfolio or even to care about the material things of this world for ourselves or for others? The answer is again both no and yes. The no comes from the fact that this passage is not the only one in the Bible speaking to questions of wealth and provision for those who are dependent on us. Other passages counsel prudence and forethought, such as, “Those who gather little by little will increase [wealth]” (Proverbs 13:11b), and, “The good leave an inheritance to their children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22)… And Jesus speaks favorably in the Parable of the Talents (Matt. 25:14-30, which will be discussed later) of investing money. In light of the rest of Scripture, Matthew 6:19-34 cannot be a blanket prohibition.
But the yes part of the answer is a warning, summed up beautifully in verse 21, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” We might expect this sentence to run the other way, “Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also.” But Jesus’ actual words are more profound. Money changes the heart more than the heart decides how to handle money. Jesus’ point is… “The possessions you own will change you so that you care more about them than about other things.” Choose carefully what you own, for you will inevitably begin to value and protect it, to the potential detriment of everything else.
We may call this the “Treasure Principle,” namely, that treasure transforms. Those who invest their deepest treasure in the things of this world will find they are no longer serving God but money… leading to anxiety and uncertainty.
The question, then, is what kind of attention you should pay to material needs and the accumulation of resources. If you pay anxious attention, you are foolish. If you let them displace your trust in God, you are becoming unfaithful. If you pay excessive attention to them, you will become greedy. If you acquire them at the expense of other people, you are becoming the kind of oppressor against whom God’s kingdom is pitched.
How are we to discern the line between appropriate and inappropriate attention to wealth? Jesus answers, “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you” (Matt. 6:33). First things first. Despite our large capacity for self-deception, this question can help us observe carefully where our treasure has put us. That will tell us something about our hearts.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen