“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles.” – Proverbs 21:23 (KJV)
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 21
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Success and Poverty
Most of us would read this chapter of Proverbs and heartily agree. In our day and age, however, we must clearly define terms. The average American would define success as being self-sufficient, not dependent on others for finances, personal security or a peaceful state of mind. We often look at those in the spot light, Christian or otherwise, who appear to have it all together as “successful”. They may very well be successful, but they may also be in desperate poverty and not even know it. Conversely, there may be those who appear to be in horrible poverty, yet truly in their hearts they are successful. Who is it that weighs success and poverty, but the One who also defines success and poverty. After all, verse 2 of our chapter is quite clear, “Every man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (ESV)
In reality, our finances, personal security or peace do not determine our success because we have little control over them. It is God who ultimately controls the hearts of men. Our finances can turn upside down in a moment. We’ve learned again in our country that our perceived security can be stripped through one evil man. Finances and security simply do not define success. Verse 21 explains that a person will find “life, righteousness and honor”, when “righteousness and mercy” are sought. There is certainly nothing wrong with making plans diligent plans (v.5), working hard and staying focused. These things will lead to abundance. True success is measured by the heart, and it is the Lord who searches our heart and reveals it to us. True success come only from the heart, being fully surrendered to God.
Greatness is Poverty
Do we look down on those who may appear to be in poverty? Does not Christ take those who appear as nothing in the world and make them mighty in the Kingdom? “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen…” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28a) Think of those Christ reached out to in the Gospels; those meetings that are recorded. Most are not lofty, they are the women at the well, the prostitute, than man on the street. These had great faith; a healing faith. These were successful in the eyes of God, thought they may not have been in the eyes of man.
Do you consider yourself successful? We don’t need to live in poverty to be successful, but we must also not assume that comfort leads to success in the eyes of the Lord.