Solomon doesn’t directly point the finger at real wealth but his inference is pretty clear. It is NOT wrapped up in money. Money can often cause more problems than it solves.
These two verses stand alone in my bible helps and especially in their focus. What is real wealth? Why would one pretend to be rich but another pretend to be poor? My bible helps relate the pretense to fear.
The man pretending to be poor may be doing so to prevent others from knowing what he has and trying to steal it. The man pretending to be rich is doing so in hopes of fooling others; inflating his importance. Which screws up the next verse for both people. How would the pretenders fare with a ransom demand? The truly poor one would be without hope while the truly rich one might go uncontested. That would validate his pretense in his mind.
Money is what this world looks at when judging a person’s wealth but that is not even half of the story. A person’s character is FAR more valuable than anything he owns. Money cannot save a man’s soul. Money cannot turn a bad character into good. It sometimes can turn good character into bad though. It is the love of money is the biggest problem. Solomon will tell us that later on, probably in several different ways.
So what is “true wealth”? Ture wealth comes from within. It is grounded in a relationship with God. It recognizes that He is our source and that money is just a tool to use for His Kingdom. It is a quiet and gentle spirit. It is love for one another. It is a life lived like Jesus called for. One of service to one another and to our God.
God gives each of us gifts that we are to share with others. Sometimes it is an understanding heart, a listening ear, or even simply desire to lift others up. Sometimes it is special training that we can employ at least a bit of for the family of God. Sometimes it is a special talent in music, writing, or even understanding of concepts others find hard to grasp. ALL these things are gifts from God and He asks us to use then to help our brothers and sisters.
The BEST wealth comes from God Himself. He pours it out on us in the form of His love. NO ONE could buy their salvation. No amount of money can clean a sinful heart. But God freely gave the gift of His Son to do both those things for EVERYONE who would reach out his hand to receive it. This wealth lasts beyond the grave.
This gift isn’t just for the ‘here after’ though. It carries us through each and every day of our lives. We express our thanks and understanding of it in how we treat others. It builds in us a character of great wealth. It sustains us when times are difficult. It is the hope that we hold onto, no matter what come.
Father God, THANK YOU for ALL Your precious gifts. The GREATEST of these is Jesus, but there are SO many others that I can’t even count them. Being able to sit here and share with people around the world is one I never thought would happen. Thank You for using me, even in a small way for Your Kingdom.
Let me NEVER get consumed with chasing things and forget the gifts I already have. Don’t let money EVER sit in the throne of my heart! You are more precious than gold.