Trouble is not worth the price demanded for it. A quiet life is worth far more than money can buy. Peace with little is better than trouble with much.
It seems like the first part of this chapter is going to be a verse by verse trek. My bible helps chose not to group them so I’m following suit. This verse stands alone in this position but it is not unique in its lesson. We see this principle nearly word for word in Proverbs 15:17. Apparently the Holy Spirit believes it deserves repeating. Or something happened that brought this proverb back to Solomon’s mind; IF Proverbs is a list of thoughts jotted down by Solomon as they crossed his heart and mind.
I wonder what it was that brought this point home to Solomon. Was he looking at the trouble his wealth had stirred up in his life? Was he noticing the difference in the amount of concerns he had to deal with when he compared those with means and those without? Solomon’s greatest trouble stemmed from having so many wives. His wealth is what brought them all into his home. Maybe that was the issue he was lamenting.
Imagine the difference in Solomon’s home and a ‘poor man’ or one of modest means in the department of wives. Solomon’s wives most likely had rivalries going, competed secretly or openly for time with him, and rose or fell in ‘honor’ by the children they bore. Remember the rivalry between Rachel and Leah? And that was with sisters and only TWO wives! Imagine the noise and bickering between Solomon’s HUNDREDS!!! A poor man, on the other hand could afford no more than one wife.
The single wife of the poor man put herself into the family’s struggle. She aligned with her husband as they worked together for the good of the family. They had separate rolls but both were committed to making sure their family was fed. I would ‘bet the farm’ that the wife of a poor man could make what little they had go farther than the wife who lived in luxury. Nothing makes you more appreciative of what you have than knowing there is nothing beyond it.
‘Chasing the dream’ of wealth brings trouble. When your attention is focused on what you want instead of being grateful for what you have, peace is absent. ‘Barely surviving’ brings trouble too. When forced to always be on the lookout for food and doing whatever it takes to get it, there is no room for rest. The person whose belly isn’t gnawing on them or overstuffed is the happiest.
Every man/woman has trouble in their lives. This is a fact. But the one who is grateful for what they have has fewer struggles. The wealthy worry about others getting what they have or try and find ways to have even more. They are focused on that next ‘good thing’ instead of focusing on enjoying what they have. Often times their enjoyment of what they have comes from others noticing their status. What use is a ‘designer’ bag other than to show how much better they are than the other classes?
The poor have no such need. They have no desire to show off their status. Often times they try and hide it instead. The man with has enough to eat, a warm place to sleep, and contentment with such is the one who is best off.
God KNOWS this too. He knows our needs. He knows our dreams too. When we focus on Him, He makes sure our needs are met. With little or much, when God is the center, there is peace. There are men who God has blessed with riches because they know how to ALWAYS put Him first and to use what they have been given for His Kingdom. There are those who have little yet know how to trust Him and serve Him with what little they have. And there are those of modest means who thank and praise Him for what He has provided and work for His Kingdom too. The KEY is whatever you have, be grateful and let the Lord lead you in how to use it to work for His Kingdom.
Trouble finds those who put themselves and their own interests first. Striving and strife seem to go hand in hand. If having more would take your focus from the Lord then LET THAT ‘DREAM’ GO. Be content with where He has brought you to. Be faithful in honoring Him with what you have and He may choose to entrust you with more IN HIS TIME.
Father God, thank You for providing for all of my needs. Thank You that You have allowed me to help others with what You have given me. Let me NEVER value things above You or above the welfare of Your children. Keep me from striving for things I have no need of. Forgive me for ever putting ANYTHING before You. Let me be a blessing to others also with the talents You have given me. Thank You for the idea You have just planted in my heart. If it is from You let it happen without problems or fanfare. If it isn’t from You, let it fade from my mind.