Our final look at faithfulness takes us into the book of Proverbs this week (for last weeks post visit Naomi’s blog here). I for one was definitely hoping that it would provide some wisdom as to how we could grow in faithfulness and really start to emulate God’s faithfulness to us that we have read so much about.
“A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished” Proverbs 28:20
I started off by reading all of Proverbs 28 and drinking is all of the different sayings and pieces of advice that Solomon was passing on to me. In this chapter specifically a lot of them seemed to be about money and power – drawing attention to how we use these things and the outcomes of that. I think I was drawn to this more and more with the use of the word “richly” and “rich” in the verse. For some reason they just kept jumping out at me!
the opposite of faithful…
It was odd at first that the opposite to being faithful was put here as someone eager to get rich. Surely an unfaithful person is the opposite? But the more I thought about it the more it made sense. God wants us to be faithful to him, to follow him at all costs, and he is fully aware of the draw that money has for us. If we are “eager to get rich” then our hearts will not be faithfully following our creator, but instead will be focused on work and money.
definition of rich
I found two distinct definitions of rich when I looked around, and I think Solomon uses both of these in this proverb:
- Having a great deal of money or assets – wealthy
- Existing in plentiful quantities – abundant.
Solomon uses definition number 1 in the second part of this verse – those who are eager to gather great deals of money to them will not go unpunished as this shows a hard heart towards God. But this isn’t the same definition he is referring to in the first part of the verse, at least I don’t think so. He isn’t saying that faithful people will in fact have heaps of dosh given to them, but that their blessings (physical, spiritual and emotional) will be abundant. There is no “set in stone” definition of what these blessings might be, but we know that they will be overflowing. Life with God is the way we were designed to be, so it makes sense that it will be the most blessed version of our life.
Faithful against the grain
The fact that a lot of the proverbs Solomon writes highlight this not being greedy/driven by money shows us that its not going to be easy to be faithful to God, that it will be against what most people are doing. As I have mentioned previously in this series, all the fruit of the spirit are things that will start to show as we journey closer with God and know his Spirit more. They are counter-cultural things that will stand out, but not just to make us the “wierdos”. They are there to point others to God. The fact that we are faithful to God, even when there is a monetary cost, will show others that the benefits in other areas must be amazing! This is a powerful testimony and witness, one that we should not hide.
Growing in faithfulness
So I guess the final thing to take from this weeks verse is “how do we actually grow in faithfulness”? We know it won’t be easy, and we know that if we are faithful we will point people towards the amazing blessings of life with God. But how do we do it? Especially when there are so many things to distract us? I think that when we focus on the Spirit and walking with him, we lose sight of the riches of the world. By becoming closer with God and focusing on the blessings he has given us then we have no reason to stray or be unfaithful as we have everything we need right here.
We move on to the final fruit of the spirit next week – Self Control. Naomi will be starting us off on a great verse from Corinthians..
” No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” I Corinthians 10:13
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