User’s Guides Are Important
When I purchase a new tool, I read the instructions. Well, not always, but I know there is benefit in doing so. If I borrow something from someone, I know it is important to ask for instructions from the owner. They usually have wisdom regarding the use, maintenance, care, and cleaning of their property. This carries over into many areas of life. Knowing the how’s and why’s of living life well is just a part of the puzzle. The other parts are understanding and wisdom.
God’s User Guide
God created everything. It is not unreasonable to view him as owner given the fact that he is eternal. We, on the other hand, are borrowers or “users.” He is the landlord, and we are the tenants. You or I may not like that, but that is the way it is. God, thankfully, did not just leave us to our own paltry knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. He gave us a very important User Guide called the Bible.
Read This First
When you have a new purchase, there is often something included that the manufacturer wants you to read first. Why? Because those instructions are important. In the case of the Bible, I often direct people to read the Gospel of John first, followed by Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. These two can get you started in understanding who you are, and how you were intended to operate. Then, you might do well to read the book of Proverbs. Proverbs covers many important warnings so that you won’t be cut, burned, or destroyed by your own lack of knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
Proverbs: Wisdom That Works
One helpful companion to the book of Proverbs is an excellent work by Raymond C. Ortlund. Here is an example of one portion where Ortlund is talking about money. God has important instructions for living regarding the wealth we have as tenants in God’s creation.
“God Made Money a Blessing—and It’s Available
The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it. (Proverbs 10:22)
Like it or not, the basic attitude of Proverbs toward money is positive: “The blessing of the Lord makes rich.” If you have a money problem, the answer is not money. The answer is the Lord. Your employer does not provide for you; God does. If the blessing of the Lord makes rich, then our business is with him. As John Calvin wrote, “The Christian must surely be so disposed and minded that he feels within himself it is with God he has to deal throughout his life.” As the sage wrote, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place” (Proverbs 15:3). Our business is always with God first, and he is the best business partner in the universe. “He adds no sorrow.” When you make money by the blessing of the Lord, you do not have to bend the rules, you can keep your promises, you do not have to overwork yourself, your conscience can stay clear, and you make enough money to share with others, which is joyful. There is no sorrow in that.
Why is the book of Proverbs basically positive about money? Because of the book of Genesis: “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). God has packed into this world vast potentialities for wealth creation. The wheat fields of the American Midwest, the breadbasket of the world—God made that. The gold and silver and gems hidden in the earth—God made all that. According to Genesis 2, God put gold, fine gold, in the world before sin ever came along (vv. 11, 12). And interestingly, it also says the gold was not evenly distributed all around but was located in one place, the land of Havilah. So God created a world in which some people would have more financial opportunity than others. Why? So they could share with others and become more like God himself, the ultimate Sharer.” Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Preaching the Word: Proverbs—Wisdom That Works, ed. R. Kent Hughes (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), 174–175.
How to Identify a Follower of Jesus
A follower of Jesus works hard so that they can share with others. “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” Ephesians 4:28
Five Minute Friday
This post is part of the weekly Five-Minute Friday link-up.
All scripture passages are from the English Standard Version except as otherwise noted.