Riches Or Poverty

“Give me neither poverty nor riches . . . lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the Lord’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:8-9).

Riches Or Poverty

If we had the choice, we would almost certainly choose not to be poor. But many men, women and children do not have the choice. Born into poverty, it is real for millions of people across the world where there is a serious lack of proper housing to live in, clean water to drink, proper food to eat.

By contrast, many others have more wealth and riches than they could ever make good use of. Some are truly benevolent and support causes which benefit the poor, but others indulge a flamboyant lifestyle without a thought for the poor, even when they live beside them. Published data show that half of the world’s wealth is owned by 1% of its people. Huge inequalities exist across the globe, and those of us who are better off should remember to help the poor, as is commanded in the Bible (Galatians 2:10).

As for riches or poverty, our verse in Proverbs 30 points out first the dangers of riches. Being rich can easily lead to a sense of self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction. The feeling is “I don’t need anything. I don’t need anyone. I don’t need God – He is redundant.” That is a dangerous attitude for anyone to adopt. Being rich can generate such feelings.

Then the verse also points out one of the dangers of poverty. In desperation, a poor person may be tempted to steal, and runs the risk of being caught and making his situation much worse. Whilst theft is always wrong, the Bible does ask us to have compassion, and discriminate between those who steal for greed and those who do it for need! Read Proverbs 6:30-31 which points this out.

Riches and poverty both present challenges and carry risks. Happy is the individual who can avoid the extremes of each!