Sometimes we simply have to admit that Proverbs are proverbs and express an uncanny wisdom that will serve us all well. We have come to use the word proverb quite loosely, often to mean something that has been said over and over again, sometimes to impart generations of wisdom, and sometimes in reference to the proverbial something. In any case, the wisdom expressed in Proverbs is probably among the oldest and wisest we shall ever know.
Let us think about this short verse and how it applies to our lives today. Dishonest money dwindles away. What is dishonest money? Is it money that is stolen rather than earned? Is it money obtained through fraud or money laundering? Is it money that fills our pockets from gambling? In today’s climate, it could be any money received in a dishonest fashion. It might suggest corruption, tax evasion, check kiting, or any of myriad ways the human race has learned to swindle, cheat and steal from each other. And, yes, this is real money. It will buy just as much as honestly earned money.
But we have a few problems with dishonest money. The first is a problem with the laws of the state or nation. If we have broken the law, we have also put ourselves in jeopardy. There may be fines to pay or prison sentences to be served. Next, we have broken the laws that we know in our hearts to be right. Most of us have a very deeply rooted sense of right and wrong and instinctively know when we have gone astray. We have to go to bed and toss and turn rather than enjoying a restful sleep. We have to awaken in the morning and look in the mirror, fully aware of what we have done. This is not a happy or healthy way to live. And, finally, we have broken the laws of God. We have committed a sin. We have broken a holy law. We have hurt our personal relationship to God and to the Holy Spirit.
But will this money dwindle away more quickly that honestly earned money? Undoubtedly it will. We all know the saying, ‘Easy come, easy go,’ and, all too often, it proves to be true. If we get it too easily, it is also gone too easily. This is not the way we, as Christians, want to live. We want to build out lives on hard work, honestly, integrity and decency. We want the fruits of our labors to grow and multiply, but we want them to do so honestly. We want to take pride in what we do. What we say, what we make, and what impact we have on others. But, even more, we want to be proud to walk in the steps of honesty that God teaches us to follow. It is only by doing so that we will be able to fulfill our every need.
May we recognize dishonesty wherever it occurs and not choose to become enmeshed in it. May we be led, always, by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and gather our money little by little through the honest labors that we do. May we always seek the wisdom of the scriptures to guide us as we journey through a tangled and troubled world, to the glory of God Almighty.
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