Show Retraint

Scripture: Proverbs 23:4, ‘Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.’


Observations: While the book of Proverbs talks about how wealth is a blessing from God, at the same time it suggests that wealth isn’t something to be pursued. To fear the Lord is much better than wealth (15:16). Proverbs also teaches the importance of working hard in order to provide for your needs, and the needs of others. Again this proverb teaches that wealth isn’t something to be pursued. We aren’t to ‘wear ourselves out’ trying to get rich. Instead a wise person ‘shows restraint,’ or literally ‘stops’ pursuing wealth. The point is that while it’s important to provide for our own needs, there are also other things in life worth pursuing, for example our relationship with God and with our spouse and children. If we spend all our time and energy pursuing wealth instead of God we are wasting precious time.


Application: I think this is probably one of the most important concepts to understand in our materialistic culture. Today people are working longer and longer hours in order to support a lifestyle that we consider normal, but is in fact incredibly luxurious. We think a large house, a pool, 2 cars, a caravan, a boat, and regular holidays is normal, when what we are doing is wearing ourselves out for wealth. What would it mean for you to show restraint, to stop pursuing what is considered normal in our society. Rather than earning more money, maybe we should be investing in time with God, enjoying our family, and investing energy in other people in order to grow God’s kingdom. When will you say enough is enough?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, give me the eyes to see where I am pursuing earthly treasures and earthly comforts instead of pursuing Your kingdom and living according to Your priorities. Lord, may the sum of my life not be a nice house and memories of holidays, but having a close relationship with You, a great marriage, children who fear the Lord, and seeing lives transformed as Your church grows. Help me to show restraint and invest my life in what really matters, not pursuing wealth but pursuing You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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