BETTER TO BE POOR

Proverbs 28:6 (KJV)

Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

I want to take for the theme of this lesson the words, “Better is the poor…

It is a stern reminder, I think, that there is something worse than being poor.

· I think Americans tend to see ourselves as poor when that is the furthest thing from the truth and

· I think we think of poverty as the worst thing that could ever happen to us

Both of those are symptoms of the prosperity we have grown so accustomed to.

We have so much that we are not satisfied with what we have

At one time in our history a Christmas gift would have been one handmade toy a child would get.

Adults would get no gifts — they would contend themselves with hunting the Christmas dinner.

At one time in history a wedding was a young man and woman meeting in the preacher’s house.

At one time in history getting a single card for your birthday would have been a big deal.[1]

As our standard of living has increased, so our expectations have increased.

We think we are poor unless we can have anything and everything we want whenever we decide we want it.

We have lived in such abundance that we do not have the skills to live with less

Most Americans:

· Could not make their own cloths

· Make a meal from scratch[2]

Most Americans

· Wouldn’t know how to grow a garden

· Wouldn’t know how to butcher their own chicken

A lot of us could not change our own oil and for sure couldn’t fix a flat tire.

We think of poverty as being the worst thing imaginable because we would not know how to survive if we had to take care of ourselves.

But there is something worse than poverty. Several things. This lesson will point out just three of them.

Better to be poor than

*I. TO BE PERVERSE

Proverbs 28:6 (KJV)

Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

The word perverse means distorted or twisted. It refers to the “double dealer.”

I read a book years ago about a tribe of cannibals, I think in New Guinea.

The missionary described going into their huts and seeing the collection of shrunken human heads hanging on the walls.

But, as bad as that sounds, these people were worse than mere head hunters.

They took sport in capturing and killing their victims.

They had a term for it that the missionary translated as “fattening for the slaughter.”

These particular cannibals would spend months and sometimes longer, becoming friends with a person, going to their home for a meal and having them over for a meal.

They would cultivate trustand affection for the person and, only when they were convinced that the person was convinced they would never kill and eat them, would they do that.

And even then, they would want to be sure the victim knew they had been played before they were killed.

That’s about as perverted as a person can get, isn’t it?

That’s how the Bible describes the person who uses our friendship to make their wealth.

Worse than being poor is abusing the trust of others to gain your wealth.

It’s the whited sepulcher Jesus references.

The guy who makes the grave look beautiful to makes us forget that inside are dead men’s bones.

I am not saying that if you are a creep you should act like a creep.

I’m saying don’t be a creep.

Better to be poor than

*II. TO HAVE UNJUST GAIN

Proverbs 28:8 (KJV)

He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.

Perversity is gain by deception.

Usury is gain by extortion.

It’s charging an extraordinarily high interest — because you can.

A person who loans out the money he possesses has a right to be compensated for the risks he assumes in the loan.

But a person who borrows money often does it because he feels he has no other choice. To take advantage of that and charge a high interest is unjust — unfair and not the right thing to do.

In the days of the Bible there was no government structure to control the terms of loans so God established a set of laws meant to protect the borrower.

· You were not to charge interest to family

· You were to give to those who were in need

· God called in all loans on a fifty year cycle — all loans were considered paid in full, even if the loan had been take out just a year previous.

I think the point of that was to encourage responsible lending policies, not to establish this radical system where one guy borrows 500 dollars and has to 50 years to pay it off and another guy borrows 500,000 and is forgiven the debt in a year’s time.

Using wealth to get wealth is perfectly fine.

Using wealth to extort others is unjust.

Better to be poor than

*III. TO GET QUICK RICHES

Proverbs 28:22 (KJV)

He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

This is a simple warning against “get rich quick” schemes.

There is only one honorable way to get gain — through hard work.

The gold rush that took place in:

· California

· Washington[3]

· Alaska

Produced hundreds of towns across the West Coast and multitudes of wealthy people.

But by far, the majority of those who became wealthy were not the gold miners, but those who came to meet the needs of the miners.

Those who:

· Stocked stores

· Moved mail

· Cooked food

· Washed clothes

· Provided room and board

They are the ones who made a lasting increase from the gold rush.

The same thing is true today. Those who get ahead for the long haul are, by for, those who find something people need and work at meeting that need for a very long time.

[1]I have read that the tradition of giving birthday cards was started by the German Anabaptists of, I think, the 15thor 16thcentury.

[2]The other day I heard someone talk about making biscuits from scratch but what they meant is that they used a dry mix and not whappum biscuits.

[3]I assume in Oregon too, but I am not aware of where.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Marvin McKenzie

Pastor, self published Amazon Author, avid student of the Bible. teacher of the Word of God in college level . Daily visit with God www.marvinmckenzie.org