There are many reasons we might be rich or poor. Lazy or hard working (Proverbs 10:4-5). Wasteful or frugal (21:17). Lucky or unlucky (17:5). We might be poor because bad things happen or rich because good things happen. Injustice (13:23). Even if we’re not actively taking advantage of others, we still do it without realising (clothes made by forced labour).
Our temptation is to think of ourselves in a positive light and of others in a negative light. All of these reasons will apply to different extents to all of us. We might have wealth for all kinds of different reasons. It’s important to not judge others by their wealth or poverty. We’ll be judged in the same way. All of our situations are complex. We shouldn’t put our hope in wealth. Money can easily be our fortress, or longing for it. It might appear to be a strong fortress, but it’s not on this earth. If it is, we’re not trusting in Jesus.
We should be generous with what we have. We need to look at ourselves. What are you doing with your money? There is no threshold for being generous. We are called to be generous with all that we have. If we are generous to others, people will be generous to us. We should care for the poor (14:31). Do you look at the poor around you and realise they are people made in God’s image? It’s easy to be generous to each other.
We can’t succeed if we just try harder. We’ll never grasp Proverbs unless we grasp what God has done for us in Jesus. In God’s eyes we can’t bring anything of worth. As we look at Jesus and his love, our love for others can grow.