Could we really avoid poverty? Here’s how.
“Poverty is no disgrace to a man,” states Sydney Smith, an English journalist in the 18th century, “but it is confoundedly inconvenient.”
A newspaper once featured this saying: “Don’t brag about poverty and don’t be ashamed of it. Just get rid of it as fast as you can.”
But how can you get rid of poverty?
In the Old Testament, we read about a king in Israel who was “noted for his wisdom and the magnificence of his reign.” He was King Solomon and he recorded several causes of poverty in the book of Proverbs. Let’s examine some of them. And let’s learn how to prevent poverty from enslaving us.
The first cause of poverty, according to King Solomon, is laziness. He stated: “How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest — and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man” (Provers 6:9-11).
A lazy man tends to “prolong” his sleep. In an issue of the Reader’s Digest, a man was quoted as saying: “Nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream.”
Consider also this quatrain by Henry W. Longfellow: “The heights by great man reached and kept/ Were not attained by sudden flight,/ But they, while their companions slept,/ Were toiling upward in the night.”
A man who is diligent in his work can still become a victim of poverty, if he is also “diligent” in squandering his income for pleasure.
To have pleasure in life is not bad. Just like using salt in food is not bad to your health. But too much salt intake causes high blood pressure. If a man “loves pleasure,” he spends more than what he earns, which consequently gets him into debt and, ultimately, causes him to wallow in poverty. Writer Richard Savage, a contemporary of Alexander Pope, has pointed out: “Nothing was… more contemptible than a man who, when he knew his income, exceeded it…”
Indeed, pleasure should be taken, like salt, in moderation to season our life.
King Solomon revealed another cause of poverty: “He… who chases fantasies (Berkeley version states: “who follows worthless pursuits”) will have his fill of poverty. A faithful man will be richly, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished…”
Those who would “follow worthless pursuits” or want to get rich fast would engage in various “instant-way-to-riches” (for example, gambling or lottery). As a result, their financial standing worsens.
The last cause of poverty we could consider here and may surprise you: refusal to accept instruction from God.
Solomon declared, “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but he who heeds reproof is honored” (Proverbs 13:18, RSV).
But you may protest: There are those who continue to defy the instructions of God, yet they succeed in amassing material wealth and they are not living in poverty!
Are you sure they are not suffering poverty?
Although they amass material possession, they are never satisfied. They are always in great want. The feel that they are still lacking something. They think that what whatever they have are simply not enough. What they think and feel are actually the definition of poverty in the dictionary!
Published in: Personal Finance