Wealth. It is something that people pursue every day. From simply going to work to pay the bills, to building corporations that span the globe and generate billions of dollars. From our earliest days we learn that, to some degree, we must spend our time pursing wealth. Unfortunately, the pursuit of such wealth can distract us from what is most valuable in life. In our text, Solomon is teaching his son where true wealth can be found.
Solomon writes, “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver and her gain than fine gold” (Prov. 3:13-14). True wealth is not found in gold and silver, it is found in wisdom and understanding. These are the things that make for a happy and blessed life.
While gold and silver can buy many things, wisdom and understanding can create many things. Solomon writes, “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens” (Prov. 3:19). Solomon wants his son to understand that in the eyes of God wisdom is the foundation of blessings, because through the wisdom of God comes life itself. Gold and silver were something that God created, but wisdom is what God used to form and establish creation itself.
A careful reading the opening chapters of Genesis reveal an important aspect of creation. The vast cosmos and the world we live in were created for a solitary reason: that we may have a home where we dwell with God. Adam and Even in the garden walking with God, not the vast glory of the universe, is the culmination of all of God’s creative work. All of God’s wisdom then, was aimed at creating an environment where we could know, value, love, and walk with God.
In wisdom God created life, and in life He wanted His love to flourish. Real wealth, founded upon God’s creative genius, seeks to create such an environment. It is for that reason that Solomon instructs his son in two important areas. First, wisdom leads one to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Wanting to please God and live in a way that honors Him is the first lesson wisdom teaches. The greatest riches we will ever have are found in our relationship with God. He told Abram (before he was renamed to Abraham), “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Gen. 15:1).
The second lesson wisdom teaches is to love others. Solomon writes, “Do not withhold good from those whom it is due, when it is in your power to do so” (Prov. 3:27). Wisdom instructs us to love and bless others even as God loves and blesses us. When we follow God’s wisdom, like Him, we can create an environment were others are valued, cared for, and loved. And don’t gloss over those words, “When it is in your power to do so.” God’s power created life so love could flourish. God gives us that same power. We do have the power to create as God creates, but only to the proportion that we are led by God’s wisdom.
When we take time to understand what is valuable in God’s eyes, we will see that great wealth is at our fingertips. And while gold and silver have their uses, creating an environment where God’s life and love can flourish is a sign that one is in possession of true wealth.