Proverbs 13:7-8 – There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. The ransom of a man’s life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.
Poverty and wealth are pretty interesting things. In America you can make yourself rich. You can work hard, start a business and sometimes with a lot of work you can make a lot of money. But you rarely hear of someone with a lot of money “making” or causing themselves to become poor. Proverbs 13 describes the person who makes themselves poor and working hard at it. It is obviously not talking about some punk kid who inherited a bunch of money and then wasted it like the prodigal with riotous living. Instead it is talking about someone who worked hard to earn some money and invested it in the work of the Lord. They made themselves poor. Like the apostle Paul they spent everything on the work of God.
I would argue that Americans compared to the rest of the world are “rich.” A good Christian should give bountifully to the Lord if he is going to reap great riches in heaven. You need to make yourself poor in the world’s eyes. There are things that a good Chrsitian will do without and sacrifice for the Lord. The median income of an American family is about $50,000 per year. If that same family would invest between 10%-25% of what they make in the Lord’s work, over a lifetime they would have invested a quarter million to three-quarters of a million dollars in the Lord’s work if they would stay faithful at it till they die. I would say they made themselves poor yet had great riches. In addition to rewards in heaven there are blessings in this life too. They might get to see their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren serving God and loving Him. I would say that is great riches.
The other side of that is a person who lives their whole life for themselves. They saved for retirement, they had all the toys, and they played all the games. They could have lots of money or not. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. You don’t have to have a lot of money to love it. But let’s say you had a lot of money like a lot of these Hollywood whores and whoremongers. They live miserable lives. You can tell because they turn to drugs. In the end they would give or pay any ransom to have a true joy. But they cannot get joy because it cannot be bought.
In the end both the rich and the poor come to death’s door. As Job says “all will a man give for his life.” People will pay whatever it takes to save their lives in medical expenses. But eternal life and joy that is a result of a life lived for God can’t be bought. It only comes little by little, investing in the work of God. It comes by making yourself poor for God.