Word to the Wise (Part 7) – Proverbs 23:4-5

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Proverbs 23:4–5  Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.

 

Work is not a curse. It’s certainly not the result of the fall. At the perfect start of creation, Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden and told to work it and care for it. Being created in the image of God entails the privilege of work, cultivation, creativity, and dominion.

 

The fall did corrupt work. It became harder and less fruitful. “Do not toil to acquire wealth,” means if wealth is the goal, then work never ends (Proverbs 23:4-5). Money is a mirage. You breathlessly reach the oasis of security it claims to offer, and then “it is gone, for suddenly is sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven”. Paradise evaporates.

 

The most sinister thing these days is that it lands a short distance off and tempts us to keep trying. We’re enticed to believe one of two lies. The first is that money brings happiness and fulfillment. The second is that money brings nothing worth while at all. Those who fall for the first lie are often impaled by the foolish desires that can plunge people into ruin (1 Timothy 6:6-10). Victims of the second are drawn toward sloth and excuse making.

 

Instead we must work hard enough to be in the game, but “be discerning enough to desist”. Wise people know when to work and when to rest. They know true contentment and peace from steering clear of the extremes.

 

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