Proverbs 19:10 (ESV) “It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, much less for a slave to rule over princes.” In a similar way, it would not “be fitting” to hand the keys of an Aston Martin Virage to a hormone-fueled teenage boy who has shown he is reckless.
Some things are “common sense” but that are not common in everyday life. Solomon says there is something wrong with two different life settings. The first has to do with a fool who has been blessed with too much and the second has to do with having the wrong person in a place of leadership.
A fool who lives in luxury is likely to think they deserve their plenty. They probably do not appreciate the huge responsibilities associated with having great wealth. Great wealth was never intended to be a self-focused pleasure pit. This view is very common in the United States. We easily view our luxuries as necessities that are me-focused. But God has a much different view. A wise person with wealth is always looking for ways to use what he or she has been given to benefit someone else. A wise person without great wealth is looking to do the same.
As one person has noted, “wealth and money are amoral. It is neither right nor wrong. Just like a knife—in the hands of a chef, it is a good tool, but in the hands of a criminal, it is a bad tool.” – Randell Tiongson A chef uses a knife to create something good for others. The criminal uses a knife to satisfy himself.
A fool is likely to use the wealth tool out of alignment with God’s values and character. God is limitlessly and extremely wealthy. What does he do with that great wealth? He seeks to shower down his goodness and wealth to those he has created. He knows to do good (the right thing) and does it. James 4:17 (ESV) says this: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” His Son did this on the cross to provide a most wonderful gift of forgiveness, restoration and an eternal inheritance. He knew the right thing to do and did it with great mercy, love and grace.
God also has standards for the portion that is rightfully his. A fool doesn’t look at his bounty that way. He prefers to try to rob God, which is one of the pinnacles of foolish thinking. Malachi 3:8-12 (ESV) says this: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.”
The fool doesn’t see reality. God is the source of blessings that are delivered “until there is no more need.”
There is also a “much less” phrase in this Proverb: “much less for a slave to rule over princes.” Some people are not fit to be leaders or rulers. In the history of our culture, being a slave was indeed often unjust and undeserved. Some slaves could and did rise to places of leadership when given the right opportunities and education. But it is true that it is not fitting for the slave to be elevated to the ruling authority until proper preparation and evaluations are completed. We need to be thoughtful in this regard. We often elect “slaves” who are slaves to the wrong masters in their thinking and values. Their character is often that of the lower spectrum of foolish selfishness and equally foolish self-confidence and pride. Then we are disappointed in the results they provide. Don’t be.
LINK: Randell Tiongson Wealth
LINK: Proverbs Blog for Proverbs 19:10