Time is Money – Proverbs 21

The second message in our Dollars and Sense Sermon Series.

Find the rest of the messages in this series here.

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Have you noticed that Common Sense is not so common anymore?

There are several reasons for this- however, I believe that one is that we now have access to a wealth of information in our pockets on our smartphones, ready all of the time. This is such a a fabulous tool, however it comes at a price. Let me give you a benign example. When Nicole and I watch a movie or a show, we almost always end up saying, what have we seen that actor or actress in? What do we know them from?

Now it used to be that you’d spend half an hour racking your brain trying to figure this out. Now you google the show or movie your watching, look at the cast until you find their picture, then click on their profile to see what movies and films they’ve been in… We are able to satisfy the question in short order, but we’ve made our brains do less of the leg work.

Here’s the potential problem that I see, in an age where you don’t need to remember anything you’ll know a lot less. There are truths that we memorized back in the day, but nowadays we don’t because we can get access to them. What that means is that they’re not rattling around in my brain, affecting my brain, shaping my thinking when I’m not actively looking for them…I believe scripture memorization is so important…

Back in the day, they not only didn’t have phones with access to the worlds information, they didn’t have copies of the scriptures to just hand out to everyone.

When Jesus read scripture, he would have walked to the synagogue to read the copy of the law or Isaiah or of Zechariah…

So in that era, you can imagine how important proverbs would be… Having phrases that they could latch onto and easily remember to hold onto, keep in their minds, and be shaped by them…

Proverbs reads differently than most of the scripture because it is made up of these nuggets of wisdom, these truths that if held onto can bring Godly wisdom in all aspects of life, from love to money, to study to farming.

You see, the truths in Proverbs are very much an applied science.

They are meant to have an impact.

When we hear the word wisdom, we typically think of knowledge, truth, thought- but the Hebrew word Wisdom is clearly meant to apply to the use of knowledge- the application of truth in everyday life. For that reason the same word for wisdom in the Proverbs is used in the book of Exodus when skilled artisans and craftsman are said to have “hochma” or wisdom.

The “wisdom literature” of the Bible is a set of practical skills for living well in everyday life.

These proverbs would have been repeated often in daily life among the Hebrew people. They would have had Proverbs that were passed down from generation to generation.

This morning I want to help you grab ahold of a few proverbs that have to do with Time and Money. Proverbs has a lot to say about both time and money. How they’re saved, how they’re spent, and how valuable they are.

In Proverbs 21 we see a few Proverbs connecting the two concepts of time and money.

5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

Let’s start with verse 5

5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

There are two principles that I want you to see here in this verse- first of all the Diligent make plans and that leads them to plenteousness. They spend their money in a planned way.

The opposite is true of those in want, they spend their money in unplanned and hasty ways.

The phrase “Time is money” sounds like the catchphrase of a rushed stockbroker or Hollywood type who doesn’t have time for people to hesitate, they need you to make a decision right now…. But the truth is that Time is Money and how you spend one is how much you’ll have of the other…

The Proverb is telling us here that if we are hasty with our decisions, hasty with our money, we’ll soon be out of it.

If you’ll spend time considering and planning our purchases you’ll save money. Spend time to save money.

You know who knows this principle to be true? Retail store owners.

Car lot owners. That’s the reason that every sale is just for this weekend- they are constantly trying to create urgency.

That’s the reason they give you coupons with an expiration date, hand you reward points that have to be spent within a certain period.

Some of us run back to stores, not because we really need anything but because we’ve got points or rewards or coupons or whatever to spend…

The board of directors did not call a meeting to figure out a way to give you money, they called a meeting to figure out a way to make more money on their current customer base and they came up with the loyalty program.

Now there are ways to leverage coupons and programs, but if we are not careful they will leverage us.

(Lowes 11% off coupons on receipts)

Whenever a salesman or a store manipulates time, it’s because they’re trying to manipulate you out of money.

The other principle I want you to see here is what the second half of the proverb points out-

5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness;

but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Not only do the decision of the hasty lead to want, they TEND toward want. They are focused want or lack.

When we tend toward thinking on what we want,

we’ll live in want.

I need to talk to you about the personal cycle of poverty.

The cycle of poverty is that when a person who is in poverty or who has been in want gets money, when they suddenly are flush with cash, they go and spend that money on the things that they have been thinking about and wanting during all of the time that they didn’t have money.

When they were without, their thoughts and wants and plans tended toward what they wanted- so when they have money that’s exactly where it goes, to what they wanted and this is often at the direct expense of what they need.

For example, a family struggles all year to make ends meet. They regularly run out of money before the next payday.

They go from paycheck to paycheck hoping nothing unforeseen comes up because it will set them back for weeks.

Then tax time comes. They rush to get their taxes done as soon as their W2 arrives and they are over the moon when they find out they’re getting a bigger than expected tax return.

They take the H&R Block offer to get a check right now instead of waiting for the deposit from the government to arrive cause they’ll have the money now and only pay a slightly smaller fee to the tax man to get it sooner (time – money), and now they are flush with cash they jump at the chance to buy the things they’ve had to tell their kids or themselves that they can’t afford.

They buy electronics, cars, and eat out and before they know it all of the tax refund is gone.

This type of living is fueled by living in want and leads to only more living in want. So they then spend the next year struggling and set themselves up to repeat the cycle the following tax season or the very next time they come into a windfall of cash.

I’ve seen extreme examples of this such as a family asking me to buy them groceries and the following week asking me to help them move their 75 inch TV because they are being evicted.

We also see it in less extreme examples as when people go out and buy their kids a bunch of toys they want when they are flush with cash to assuage their guilt for denying them so much through the previous year but then struggling to make ends meet and purchase the things they need for school.

How do we combat this?

Pouring more money into a personal cycle of poverty only speeds it up.

17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man:

he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

To step out of the personal cycle of poverty, a person must change their thinking and reset their affections.

If we love and crave pleasure, we’ll spend for it as soon as we can. No matter how much money we have…

If you love wine and oil, you’ll not be rich because you’ll constantly trade your money for more oil and wine, and not seeing the connection, you’ll spend them up, eat them up, use them up.

This is the reason that many people who make way more money than you and I do are still broke, their love for stuff continues to outpace their paycheck and they can never get ahead.

Cravings for pleasure and things always outpace our ability to satisfy them.

This doesn’t just relate to money- it relates to all of our carnal appetites. Our cravings in all arena of life will always outpace our ability to satisfy them, we’ll always be thirsty again.

There’s a great account of Jesus talking about this very thing with a woman at a well in John 4. She had come to draw water out of the well and Jesus tells her that he could give her water that would cause her to never thirst again.

If you set your affections on righteousness, you’ll be satisfied.

If you change your thinking about money with God’s truth, you’ll be able to save wisely instead of spending impulsively.