Posted by: Ety W. | September 13, 2008

Prov. 31:18 – Financially Sensible Part 1

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This is part 9 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
To start at the beginning, click here.

What does money mean to you?  It is an important question to consider, because money is a fact of life.  In studying the example of the Excellent Woman, we have already seen that she is diligent and industrious enough to have money to invest.  The next verse gives us the opportunity to consider her attitude towards her wealth as well.

She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.  Prov. 31:18

This verse seems fairly self explanatory, but just to make sure there isn’t possible figurative language here, let’s check a couple of definitions.

Gain – Strong’s 5504 – סחר – sachar = gain, profit, gain from merchandise, gain from traffic

Good – Strong’s 2896 – טוב – towb = good, pleasant, agreeable,  excellent

The definitions plus the context …

She girds herself with strength,
And makes her arms strong.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.  Prov. 31:16 – 18

… confirm that the text is speaking of financial gain.

Over the centuries, Christians have run the philosophical gamut concerning the possession of money and wealth.  Some view money and material wealth as a hindrance; for example monastic groups who take vows of poverty. Others view it as proof positive of God’s blessing.

Consider Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler (Matt. 19:16-22; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 18-18-23).  This young man wanted to know how to obtain eternal life.  Their conversation is interesting, because the young man obviously understood that keeping the law wasn’t enough. It is from Jesus’ response however, that we begin to gain a spiritual perspective.

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. Mark 10:21-22 (NASB)

Was Jesus saying that money is evil?  Was He saying that the rich cannot inherit eternal life?

Jesus also said –

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Matt. 6:24 (NASB)

The question is not whether financial and material wealth are either evil or a blessing. The question is, do you own your wealth, or does it own you?

Have you ever heard someone say, “money is the root of all evil”?  Unfortunately that is a misquote.  The verse actually says,

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim. 6:10

We desire what we love, and we pursue what we desire.  So, what does money mean to you?  Does it mean material gain?  Importance?  Power?  Security?  Freedom?  If any of these things ring true for us, then we are in the same boat as the Rich Young Ruler; our desire for wealth is a spiritual stumbling block.

The problem isn’t the money, the problem is ownership. As Christians we like to say that everything we own belongs to God, but if we cannot give freely of our material wealth, then our treasure is not in heaven.

So what should our attitude toward money be?  One of stewardship.  Money is a tool, and next time we will look at how the Excellent Woman used it.


  1. […] Sensible – v 18 […]

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