Holding to Solomon’s timeless truth that “through wisdom is an house builded….” (Provs. 24:3) I have set forth in parts 1 and 2 of this study that in the building of a Christian home, one will need wisdom in establishing a right resolve in private and public worship, in family, and in personal disciplines of worship. Then, too, wisdom should be a major factor in the right resolve in our walk with Christ, in our witness for Christ, and in our using the world, rather than abusing the world. (I Cor.7:31)
In this final installment, the wisdom needed for a right resolve for our work—and concerning our wealth—will be discussed.
First, our work: Are we engaged in honest work? Are we known as dependable? Do we do our job with enthusiasm, exhibiting a positive, cheerful spirit? God has ordained work for our good, and it is a necessity. Paul said that if any man would not work, assuming he was able-bodied and could work, he should not eat. (2 Thess. 3:10) In fact, as a testimony and for an example, Paul—an Apostle, who might have been expected to receive support for his labors in ministry—said, “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.” (2 Thess. 3:8)
U.S. News and World Report, some time ago, reported that employees spend, on average, 34% of their paid time not working!
If you should feel over-worked, consider the labors of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism: “At the age of 83, he complained that he could not write more than 15 hours a day without hurting his eyes; and at the age of 86, he had to admit he could not preach more than twice a day. For years, he averaged three sermons a day, traveling horseback more than 200,000 miles. During his lifetime he wrote a four-volume commentary on the whole Bible, a dictionary of the English language, a five-volume work on natural philosophy; histories of England and Rome, grammars on the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French and English languages, three works on medicine; six volumes on church music; seven volumes of sermons and papers, and he also edited a library known as the “Christian Library.” In his 86th year he preached in almost every shire in England and Wales and often rode 30 to 50 miles a day.” (copied)
For the believer, our work should be done to please our Lord the Christ: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (Col.3:17) And, we should take to heart the wise words of Solomon, who concluded that “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.” (Eccl.9:10)
Finally, in building a Christian home, there is a need for wisdom in forming a right resolve concerning wealth and our attitude toward money. There is little doubt that in the latter part of the 20th century and for most of this current century, Americans especially have been engulfed in a tidal wave of materialism. Our parents, some of whom came through the Great Depression, wanted us to have a better life than they did, and after World War II they set about to ensure that. With a couple of “hiccups” on the screen of history, their children have enjoyed historically unprecedented prosperity. Only the darkening clouds of a possible, pending recession have slowed this pursuit of phenomenal profit and pleasure that 21st century westerners have by and large enjoyed. But, it would seem that with it has come personal and public unrest and turmoil in the streets and market places—and even in the halls of Congress—that have also been nearly unequalled.
Rudyard Kipling, speaking of materialism and the vanity of spending life pursuing only those “things,” wrote: “Someday you will meet a man who cares for none of these things. Then you will know how poor you are.”
John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. At the age of 33, he had become a millionaire. By the time he was 43, he controlled the biggest company in the world. And when he was 53, he was the world’s first billionaire. It was then, though, that the oil magnate became sick, losing his hair along with considerable weight, with no ability to keep anything on his stomach but crackers and water. His weekly income was a million dollars, but he could not enjoy it, and most of his nights were spent without sleep and in misery. His doctors, having examined him, confided that he would probably not live to see his 54th birthday. But after one of those sleepless nights, having inventoried his soul, Rockefeller arose and began to divest himself of a good deal of his fortune. He had concluded that he would not be able to take one dime out of this world, so he began to give away much of his wealth. He gave to churches and charities, established universities, and eventually created a foundation for the future dispensing of his fortune. And, as a benefit of this new mindset, he began to revive physically! He did live to see his 54th birthday; in fact, John D. Rockefeller—Baptist Sunday School teacher and richest man in his world—lived to be 98 years old! It is so important to have a right view of money and of wealth! How is your resolve concerning material things? Paul reminded his protégé Timothy that “we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us therewith be content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (I Tim.6:7-9)
“The fly lands on the flypaper and says, ‘My flypaper,” while the flypaper says, ‘My fly.’” Beware of “destination sickness.” It is the syndrome of a person who has arrived and discovered he is nowhere…having all the things that money can buy while experiencing little or no satisfaction with any of them. Jesus simply said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)
Seek God’s wisdom in making right resolves concerning your income, money, wealth.
What kind of a home are you building? Did you begin with a solid foundation? For the Christian, that foundation is Jesus Christ, for “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Cor.3:9) If you are building on Christ, then He will give you the wisdom to build a home with righteous resolves concerning your worship, your walk, your witness, the world, your work and your wealth. God help us to build such homes—and to encourage the generation following us to do the same.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not for it was founded upon a rock.” (Matt. 7:24)