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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of August 1, 2022

Are you so hungry to own more money that your money owns you?

In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus says, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."

Jesus tells about two men, both of whom sold everything for the kingdom of heaven. To those men, God's eternal kingdom was so valuable that they were willing to give up everything they had in order to invest in it.

That's exactly the same attitude God wants us to have toward wealth. Money is an excellent servant but a terrible master. Unfortunately, many people in society are mastered by their money, unable to control their greed.

Yet God is more important than all these things in the world. He requires that we be willing to sell all for Him.

Mark 10:17-22 tells the story of a rich man's encounter with Jesus: As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good -- except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"

"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy." Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

He owned great wealth, but really his wealth owned him. Remember that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).

This man's heart was so attached to his money that his money owned him. His attitude is very different than that of the two men, who sold everything for the kingdom of heaven.

If, like this man, you become so hungry to own more money, be aware that really your money will own you.

Use your words as building blocks not battering rams.

Every word you say will have an affect on others. Positive words will encourage and strengthen other people, but negative words will tear down and harm them. You must decide whether to speak positively or negatively. Please understand that speaking positively requires a deliberate decision, whereas speaking negatively comes easily—for it is human nature. Therefore, actively strive to speak positive and encouraging words to others.

It is no surprise that the Bible instructs us to say beneficial things about others: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29). Furthermore, Colossians 4:6 says, "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt ..." Speaking positive, uplifting words is extremely important. Indeed, Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."

In Psalm 19:14, David prays, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." David clearly knew the importance of words, and so he prayed that he would speak words that were pleasing to God.

We must deliberately choose to speak positive words; otherwise, we will instinctively complain and be negative—for that is human nature. Thus, it is no surprise that Ecclesiastes 5:2 tells us, "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." Similarly, Proverbs 10:19 says, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Usually when you "hold" your tongue, you'll catch yourself before you say nasty things about others and cut them down with your words.

Lastly, it is important to understand that whatever you say is a reflection of your heart attitude. Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (also see Luke 6:45). In other words, your words are simply an overflow of what's in your heart. If you think poorly about others, you'll speak poorly about them. On the other hand, if you think positively about others, as the Bible instructs us to, then you'll speak positively about them.

Since words carry power, make a decision to use your words as building blocks not battering rams.