The Real Thing

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 23:17-18 (day four)

Throughout Scripture, we receive the calling to live as pilgrims in this world, just passing through on our way to our eternal home with Christ. In Philippians we’re reminded that “our citizenship is in heaven.” In 1 Peter we’re reminded that we are “aliens and strangers” in this world.

But in the milieu of day to day life, it is easy to forget where our citizenship lies. Even though we’re “just passing through,” it’s a long journey. When we’re constantly surrounded by the things of this world, they begin to look appealing. We see those around us enjoying luxury, prestige, or the seeming happiness of living without restraint, granting themselves every fleshly craving.

But we’re reminded in Colossians that the things of the world that appeal to us are “mere shadows” of what is to come. Earthly goods are shadows, counterfeit versions of the true and complete good that is found in Christ. When we’re surrounded by the counterfeit, it’s easy to settle for that instead of the real thing. But our identity is in Christ and our citizenship is in heaven. Our God is the giver of every good gift, and offers us real joy, real fulfillment, real peace. He is the only real thing, and he offers himself to us in abundance.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 23:17-18 (day three)

“Do not let your heart envy sinners.”

It’s not uncommon to caricaturize sinners as those who crush people who get in their way, or those who don’t worry about good and evil. But those descriptors don’t reveal what actually happens to a human being as that person tries to find welcome, nurture, connection, and safety – things that only love will provide. Sin arises when a person has become so fearful of not finding those things that whatever promises such things presents an attractive proposition which the person then pursues. Such a person, desperately longing for love that will save a life, will follow that promise to the death, and the collateral damage will be agonizing for everyone connected to that person. Surely envy is not the way to regard such a person, but rather compassion that moves you to love.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 23:17-18 (day two) 

Do not let your heart envy sinners vs. 17a

What is the yard stick you use for measuring success? Who do you look to as benchmark for a job well done? Our culture is centered around a ‘get-ahead’ mindset, and we are taught to judge others by what they have or what they have done? There is value in the pursuit of a goal, no doubt, but we must be careful to put our hope in perceived success. What has God called you to do today? Who has he created you to be. Measuring success by any other mark may fill a bank account but bankrupt your soul. Find contentment in the Lord’s best version of you, and who knows what could follow.

Re:Verse Blog – 5/6/24

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 23:17-18 (day one)

Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through Proverbs 23:17-18 in our Spring Re:Verse Series: Proverbs – “The Way of Wisdom.”

Rich or Poor?

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 22:7 (day seven)

Does God want us to be rich? There are Christians out there who would say that God does want you to be financially prosperous. Many Proverbs, including todays passage, point to the benefits of being wealthy. Yet, what do we do with the rich man whom Jesus told to sell all that he has and give it to the poor? Or right after that where Jesus says it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? This dichotomy leaves us confused. Does God want us to be financially prosperous or does He want us to be poor?

The answer can be found in the context of Proverbs 22. Verse 2 says, “The rich and the poor have a common bond, The Lord is the maker of them all.” The sovereignty of God calls us to be content in all circumstances. Contentment shows trust. Then in verse 9, “He who is generous will be blessed.” God’s focus is not on how much or how little we bring in, but on how generously we give of what all He has given to us. Generosity shows obedience. Contentment (trust) and generosity (obedience) are the traits that will lead us into a more prosperous life, even if the prosperity is not financial.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 22:7 (day six)

This proverb is more than a morality tale about the consequences of loving money; it is also about the entropy of worldly systems. Every economic and political system favors the rich and powerful. It is systemic in the truest sense of the word. This is not because of the economic or political persuasion itself but because of what Paul calls the spirit of the world. This undertow pulls and tugs every system toward one trajectory: enslavement. The kind of enslavement doesn’t matter, whether political, economic, or cultural; the spirit of the world finds a way to lock up our time and resources to completely disable our ability to leverage all God has given for his Kingdom.

Jesus would say, “Don’t be naive. Be shrewd. Don’t be duped by worldly systems.  Whether a lot or a little, be free to make the most of the resources God has given you.”


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 22:7 (day five)

Should we be surprised that Solomon wants to address the subject of money?  Having money or the appearance of having money communicates plenty. My guess from Solomon’s writings, is that just like today things like social status, reputations, meaningless appearances are derived by many in the context and culture of that society. One point that Solomon seems to make is that money can be a thief- robbing freedom from the wealthy because greed keeps them from using their money to bless others (verse 9) and robbing freedom (freedom to be content and freedom to make the Lord their top priority) from those in debt. The way of wisdom is to steward money so that the fear of the Lord is unhindered and the ability to respond to His instruction and direction (using money to support and encourage others) can happen often and easily.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 22:7 (day four)

We’ve all heard the famous mis-quote of Scripture, “Money is the root of all evil.” Money itself isn’t a bad thing – it’s really a neutral thing. It’s a necessary part of our society in order to trade services. It’s our own sin, our own pride and materialism and desire for power that turns money into something sour. Where people are, there is also sin. And sin in regard to money is nothing new, as this proverb indicates.

This sin impacts both parties in the exchange, it is present on both sides of the same coin (pun intended). If you’re in financial need, it’s easy to try to solve the problem yourself and make money your sole pursuit. This inevitably subjects you to the power of those with wealth. Solomon, even in all his wealth, recognizes that this is a terrible way to live.

But if you’re wealthy, or even just financially comfortable, this proverb speaks to you, too. This serves a warning about the sin that often accompanies financial abundance. How do you treat the people in your life that have less than you do? How do you treat the people who depend on you financially? Do you use your financial abundance to lift up others, or lift up yourself?


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 22:7 (day three)

“The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”

Cheap shoes are cheap for a reason. What is that reason? Electronic devices can’t exist in mass quantity unless certain conditions are met. What are those conditions? You can afford a certain good or service. Can a person long afford to provide those things for you? This is curiosity. This is hearing people. What happens to all those people? Do you know? Do you care? Do you hear them? The Lord does. From cover to cover, from “Your brother’s blood cries out from the ground” to “The wages you’ve withheld from those who’ve served you cry out against you,” the Bible demands an accounting from you for how you live with people. There’s always someone less powerful than you over whom you can find it easy to rule.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 22:7 (day two) 

The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.

The language of this verse is strong; necessarily so. It is unlikely that we would use words like slave/ruler in a modern context, which is wise, but the Solomon clearly captured the yoke of debt. I have found it overwhelming when a financial burden clouds decisions. Somehow that weight and responsibility seeps into other decisions and conversations. Often, I don’t realize what is souring my mood, or my ability to act decisively. When the burden is lifted or overcome, however, it becomes abundantly clear how much that yoke of debt clouded so many other facets of my life and relationships. We are far more able to be God’s instrument when things like debt and finances are managed well. It doesn’t always equate to coffers being full to overflowing, but it does mean a peace and contentment which is worth far more.