"Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom."
Yesterday: What is Worth Spending our Lives Working For?
Don’t waste your life working for things that don’t matter in eternity.
Today: Riches are only temporal. They do not last forever.
Don’t wear yourself out trying-
“To be rich.”
Solomon is not condemning riches here. He is warning his son not to weary himself searching for riches (money and possessions)! There are far more critical things in life to be seeking and expending your energy on.
“These verses warn against overwork for the sake of gaining riches. This speaks not against being industrious but against consuming oneself for money. Wise restraint in this area … is needed, especially in the present day when materialism drives many people to excessive workloads in order to accumulate more money” (BKC).
“He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
Believers, be careful that you don’t get caught up in the “lust of the flesh,” the “lust of the eyes,” and the “pride of life” (1 John 2:15-17).
“And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest” (Jeremiah 45:5).“ “… But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go” (Jeremiah 45:5b, ESV).
“Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death” (Proverbs 11:4).
“A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent” (Proverbs 28:20).
In fact, riches in this life are never certain.
“Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5).
Because riches are not guaranteed in this life, and they hold no eternal value for us, we need to –
“Cease from thine own wisdom.” (a)
This word “cease” means “to stop, cease, desist, forego,… leave undone, forbear” (BDB). That’s not too hard to understand. But if we get hooked into the search for riches, it might not be that easy to stop our quest for wealth without God’s help in changing our attitude about what’s important. In our verse, what do we need to cease from? Depending upon –
“Thine Own Wisdom”
“Thine own wisdom – From worldly wisdom, which persuades men to use all possible means to get riches” (John Wesley).
You think you’ve got your life and riches all figured out! That’s “your own wisdom,” your counsel with your own heart. Be careful! The world gives us the “devil’s counsel” when it tells us to “Go after riches!” The world system encourages our greediness when it says, “If you can get rich honestly, that’s good, but if not, go after riches any way you can!” And the world system preaches and practices this! But child of God, this is not for us, for God tells us plainly, “Cease from thine own counsel.” Stop wasting your energy on trying to come up with schemes to get rich. Instead, look to your Lord and live your life for Him.
“Thou hast an immortal soul and shalt shortly appear before God. Lay up treasure for heaven and be rich towards God” (Clarke).
Have you heard someone say, “If I were rich, I could really help with missions!” But what are they doing for their church and missions right now? Having money does not make a person gracious and generous. If they aren’t generous now, without money, they won’t be generous later, even if they become rich.
Come back tomorrow when we will keep looking at giving up our way of thinking, “our own wisdom,” and continue looking at God’s way of thinking about riches.
Quote: Speaking of our great God:
“He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in every mine;
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine.
Wonderful riches, more than tongue can tell –
He is my Father so they’re mine as well;
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills –
I know that He will care for me” (John W. Peterson).
 Buzzell, S. S. (1985). Proverbs. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 956). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
 BDB, Brown, Driver, Briggs. Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, the electronic version in eSword.
 John Wesley. John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword. Proverbs 23:4.
 Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.
 “He Owns the Cattle on a Thousand Hills,” words and music by John W. Peterson. Copyright Status: © 1948 by John W. Peterson Music Co.