“Rich and poor have this in common;
The Lord is the Maker of them all.”
Are rich people more important than poor people?
Does the size of your bank account dictate your worth as a person?
Does more money mean you have a better life?
Should the poor have less influence on the world than the rich?
All of these questions in one form or another swirl in every corner of the globe. Arguably the divide between the rich and the poor is the greatest humanitarian chasm in our world. To my US friends, It is important to point out that by the world’s standards even the poor in the United States are rich which should jar us to the core. However, even within the US the poor and rich live in two different stratospheres it would seem. We don’t have to look hard to see this truth.
I have never seen the Academy Awards invites the homeless guy begging for change outside the 7/11 to walk the red carpet ahead of Angelina Jolie. The fact that I can type “Jolie” without a spell check proves that I have seen and know her name without ever physically seeing or knowing her. But why do I know her better than I know my neighbor from central South Dakota who is a single dad with two young kids and an ex-wife with a criminal record? The poor are not summoned to congress to talk about their views on the new tax laws. The poor don’t get invited onto TV shows to talk about the books they wish they could write. The poor aren’t asked to endorse shoes by Nike as they walk around town pushing their stolen Wal-mart shopping cart.
There clearly is a difference in social equality that goes beyond just the bottom line of your checking account. However there is equality in the eyes of God. He tells us that regardless of what we make we are all created equal by our Maker. However, before you read too far into what I’ve said, this is not a rich people bashing session or a poor people pity party. It is about the responsibility we have, regardless where God has you on the tax bracket, to live your life with integrity, wisdom, and love for Him. God doesn’t hate rich people and He doesn’t hate the poor, but He is disappointed when we refuse to follow His wisdom for our life especially towards one another.
In Proverbs 22:7, Solomon says that “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” which, whether we like it or not, is 100% true. The reality is that the society we live in is mostly driven by the influence of those that have succeeded and have therefore been given a position of power. The manner in which we reward those people for that influence is in the form of money. Yes there are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part this is the societal norm we’ve ascribed to. Before this, power was determined by amount of farmland and livestock, but as society progressed money replaced this system and who knows eventually people may be paid in Golden Retriever puppies if that catches on. However, according to God, with power comes responsibility.
Solomon goes on to say,
“He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich both come to poverty.” Proverbs 22:16
“Do not exploit the poor because they are poor, and do not crush the needy in court.” Proverbs 22:22
Historically, the abuse of power has resulted in a fall from power eventually and those that try to buy there favor with the rich only degrade their integrity into a counterfeit existence. They may drive nicer cars, but they are more poor in spirit than they ever have been. Rather God says, that “a generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor” (v. 9) and “a good name is more desirable than great riches.” (v. 1)
A rich person does not become poor because they share their wealth. They become poor because they have sold their soul to stuff and the Life within them slowly becomes bankrupt. Equally as true is that a poor person isn’t poor because they don’t have money. Yes, sometimes they are poor because they’ve chosen a habit over work, laziness or dedication, or have sold their soul to anyone and anything, but their true poverty comes from not having their eyes focused on the true Ruler of their life.
A wise person seeks God over anything else in this world. Independent of a checking account balance, they seek His face in any all decisions while not separating their lives into spiritual and not spiritual categories.
For us this means:
- Parents we should start speaking wisdom to our children at a very young age so it will grow into their lives early. (v. 6).
- Spouses, speak words of life into your husband or wife to make their spirit rich. (v.11).
- Christians, make the decision that God is important enough to be number one in our life so we don’t end up spiritually bankrupt.
Wisdom springs from a spirit humbly submitting to God’s will and content with whatever blessing God may bring. A posture like that brings us into a completely different spiritual tax bracket and one more valuable than gold. Love each other well and be rich in the love of God.