Pride And Wealth


Rich men are conceited, but their real poverty is evident to the poor.

~Proverbs 28:11, LNT


Money has never made a man happy and never will. Instead of filling a vacuum, it creates a larger one.

~Ben Franklin

Let me say two things right off of the bat, Ben Franklin was one smart dude and Proverbs 28:11 is a generalization. As a rule the rich are conceited but there are exceptions to the rule. Before we get into the above Proverb…Rich men are conceited, but their real poverty is evident to the poor…let me remind you that our culture it totally different from the one Solomon originally addressed. Their society had basically two classes: the haves and the have-nots, the rich and the poor. The poor outnumbered the rich but their was no huge middle class like there is in America. They didn’t have entitlements either. When we talk about entitlements, we are not just talking about welfare. Ross Perot made millions by milking the federal government. This is why the professional lobbyist in Washington make millions, they get million delivered to the entities they represent. I think they call these huge gifts subsidies but they come from tax payers pockets. Some people know how to work the system.

Don’t misunderstand me, not all wealth has been made on the backs of middle class tax payers but wealth within itself carries a very great temptation. Wealthy people are much more apt to be prideful. C.S. Lewis reminds us that pride does not want for the sake of wanting, pride wants for the sake of comparison, it want more than others. Pride always leads to comparison. I work harder than you…I am smarter than you…I am better looking than you…I have more money than you, etc. The frightening thing about pride is that it blinds and deceives–proud people don’t know they are proud. As a matter of fact, many proud people think they are humble. A drunk knows that he is a drunk; a poor man knows that he is poor but the proud person doesn’t see his or her own pride. This is why Solomon {a rich man} recognized the truth: a poor man can spot pride in the rich man when the rich man is totally oblivious to what is going on. Duane Garrett {New American Commentary} says and rightly so, “The wealthy think that their money proves they are smarter, work harder and morally superior to those who have less.” Franklin said, “There is nothing in the nature of wealth to produce happiness. Instead of money filling a vacuum, it creates a larger one. Instead of satisfying one want, it multiplies our wants and the more we get, the more we want.”

I know what you are thinking: Don’t you want more? Sure, I would like to have a new John Deere tractor and a UTV but at what price? Am I willing to stop giving to the church so I can buy those things? No, that would be foolish. What we give to the church is an eternal investment: we would be fools to stop giving to the kingdom of Christ in order to buy a UTV. Do I want more at the price of my integrity? Do I want to win the draw down when another hundred have to lose in order for me to win? NO! I have no intention of compromising my integrity to pick up extra cash. Should I discard my conviction and take anything I can get simply for the sake of having more? NO! Years ago, I could have had $20,000 if not for my pride and my convictions. When I told the man I didn’t want the money, he said, “Well I have to give to you, what you do with it is your business.” I gave it all away immediately. If you don’t believe this story is true, you asked my children…they thought I was crazy. A few years ago a young man said to someone else, “I don’t want to wind up like Bro. Jack, old and broke.” This young man thinks money will solve everything but he is wrong. I am not the least bit worried about departing this world without wealth. I value integrity far more than money and I want to be remembered as a giver, not a taker.

One last disclaimer: GREED will destroy your character, relationships, health, happiness, and your future. There are no happy misers. There is great joy in giving but there is none in hoarding.

I told the story above because I want you to know that I could have a new John Deere if that was a priority. I’ve wasted enough money to have two or three tractors. So I am not hinting, just talking. I hinted about a box blade and a new one was sitting in my yard a few days latter. I don’t want that to happen again. I need to be more careful about what I say or how I say it because I got something for Christmas that I didn’t deserve and don’t really need. When I said something about it, June said, “It is your fault. You said you would like a grill where you could control the temperature.” Her advice to me was to keep my mouth shut but we all know that’s probably not going to happen. So to clarify, I am dreaming but not hinting.

Well folks, it has been a week and we’ve been burning the old proverbial candle at both ends. I am filling in at GRACE POINT Baptist Church for the month of April. I will be there on Sunday A.M. and Wednesday night but I will also be doing some visiting and counseling. My first cousin Karen Emerich is in HH CCU1. She’s had a tough week. She needs triple by-pass surgery but her lungs are infected and not working properly. I’ve been spending time at the hospital and trying to keep up with my pastoral duties here and at Grace Point. I will confess. I took off after church Sunday and spent the day in rest and with my family. Then yesterday, I helped at the church, then I tried to beat the rain by getting in the garden, then I got called back to hospital last night. So those are my excuses for no blog.

PTL, I am in my little building today doing what I love most.

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