The Best Place to Find Money – Proverbs 10

The third message in our Dollars and Sense Sermon Series.

Find the rest of the messages in this series here.

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Today I want to give you a Common Sense tip on where you can find money.
When I was a kid I learned that a great place to find money was int he couch cushions. When I heard the ice cream truck, I would raid the couch cushions for money.
As an adult I’ve found the best place to find money is at work.

The best place to find money is at work.

I want to talk to you today about what scripture says about Money and work, but there are a couple of qualifiers I want to share first…

1.You will never out-earn reckless spending.

A few years ago someone said to me, you can’t outwork a bad diet. I got to thinking about that and realized how true it was in my own life. When I was training for a marathon I gained weight- it was when the doctor forced me to stop running for 6 weeks in the middle of my training that I lost the most weight! Many people think that they have no money because they just don’t earn enough, when the reality is that they earn plenty but they spend to much.

So before I talk to you about working and earning money, let me be clear that you can never earn enough to offset your unchecked spending habits.

2.At some point, work provides diminishing returns.

Diminishing returns is when something stops earning or producing what it once did. For example, just because you keep working doesn’t mean that you keep earning. If you were to work overtime this week, you would get more money. However, at some point your overtime would actually be less worthwhile because you’d be working so much that you don’t even have enough time to use the money you’ve been given, or your health would suffer so much that you would have to stop working and pay doctors bills…

A good practical example of this is when couples make the decision for the wife to work while they have small children at home.

For some people, this is the right call- but many times people fail to see that while there will be an extra income, the childcare costs, costs of two people commuting, higher tax bracket, and greater amount of money spent on eating out since no one is at home to prepare the food, ends up costing more than it’s worth.

3.Not all poverty is the result of a refusal to work.

If you read the Old Testament you will see that scripture places a high priority on justice for the poor and speaks against the manipulation or the oppression of the poor by the rich. There are plenty of people who are poor, not because they are unwilling to work or because they are reckless with their money but because the people with all of the power have hoarded all of the money for themselves.

My grandfather went to Haiti to do mission work after he retired. He made nearly 20 trips to Haiti. I remember him showing slides of the shanti towns, homes built out of tin roof panels, and then the giant pools of human waste, and then just up the road is the palace where the head of state lived.

In our country it’s less the government that oppresses the people and more the corporations- I like what I heard someone say recently: Isn’t it amazing when the stock market soars it means basically nothing to every day blue collar working Americans but when it plummets those same Americans lose their jobs.

1.Diligence and Wisdom lead to Plenty.

The paring of Diligence – hard work with Wisdom is a powerful force for our good. When we are willing to work hard AND willing to constantly search for the best way to do something, we will be able to provide plenty for our families.

The proverb says “the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son…”

Theres a time for harvest and a time for sowing or planting. If you try to harvest in the time of sowing, if you try to harvest before it’s time, or if you miss the harvest because you’re sleeping, then you’re a fool. I was recently in a meeting with some people looking to use a grant to help the community and they asked me what I thought was the most prominent defining characteristic of people in our community-

I first said, they’re hard working. They do it themselves.  Hard work matched with foolishness does not lead to plenty, hard work paired with wisdom leads to plenty. We must pair our work ethic with a desire to learn, a desire to know, a desire to understand. 

I read a fascinating account about the incredible work ethic that people in broader Asia have- it seems to be a cultural norm to be incredibly hard working in those regions. Part of the reason is that people who grow rice, if they work hard AND work smart, they can actually get three rice crops in a year. Through diligence and wisdom, they can grow the rice fast enough to do 3 crops-

Now imagine the difference if would make if through hard work and ingenuity you could triple your salary, triple your bottom line. This reward for extra effort built into their culture for generations has promoted a culture of hard work.  The world is changing at a faster pace today than ever before, more than ever hard work will need to be paired with wisdom- with understanding, with perfect timing.

2.Laziness and Foolishness lead to Want.

If you’re unwilling to work hard, you will be in want. If you’re unwilling to watch for the changes that come about in seasons, you’ll be in want. When scripture uses these terms, we should be careful that we don’t look at the idea of work in the sense that we think of work, as in the 40 hour work week. They would have been people who worked for themselves, laboring with their hands, raising crops and cattle, craftsman building structures.

There were no W2s or TPS reports…There were no time clocks or assembly lines…
When scripture speaks of work, it speaks of what we make of our time, the effort we put in.

It’s not speaking of just showing up at an office. Putting in your time at the factory. It’s speaking of being a diligent worker at whatever you’re doing. You can go to work and still be a lazy fool and you’ll not stay at the job for long, or you will fail to advance.

3.What we most need can’t be earned no matter how hard or smart we work.

2Treasures of wickedness profit nothing:

but righteousness delivereth from death.

3The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish:

but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

God actively works against the wicked generally, but there are exceptions where His grander plans are of more importance. So, when we live wicked lives, God’s help will not be for us. But the thing that we most need can not be earned, only given.

Scripture tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9
8For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9Not of works, lest any man should boast.We can’t earn God’s grace. We can’t pay that debt.

No matter how hard we work, no matter how smart we work.

Story of the little boy who attended church where they took a special offering on Communion Sundays. His mother gave him a dime to put in the benevolence offering before communion and when it came time to take communion he got up to go too. When his mother explained that he wasn’t ready for communion, he loudly asked, why not mom? I paid for it.