If you could sit down with someone who loves you and is both wise AND rich and listen to them talk about money, would you do it? That’s what reading the book in the Bible called Proverbs is like. It is a collection of wisdom written mostly from a father to his son.
What we find in Proverbs is wisdom that has passed the test of time. It is the kind of wisdom that when you look around you realize is still embraced by those who have accumulated and manage their finances well. Obvious exceptions come to mind, but on the whole these financial principles stand on their own.
If you’ve missed any of this series I encourage you to catch up: part one, part two, part three. Today we’re going to pick up the top five financial principles from chapters 16-20 of Proverbs (we’ve covered 12 principles thus far in chapters 1-15).
#13 Hunger keeps you moving!
Sometimes we’re scared to be hungry. It turns out, according to Solomon, that it may not be such a bad thing after all! A hungry person is a focused person! While this is true of food, it is also true of goals too… particularly financial ones.
Right now Sherri and I are “hungry” to be totally debt free. This hunger drives us to do things some folks just don’t understand… because they don’t have the same hunger we do for this goal.
Solomon writes, “The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on” (Proverbs 16:26 NIV).
So here’s the question, what are you hungry for and to what lengths are you willing to go to feed that hunger? Don’t deny the hunger. Let it be a motivation for you to achieve that goal! Let it focus your attention like the growling belly focuses your attention on your need for food!
#14 Stupid people co-sign.
We’ve hit this one before, but not this strong. It really is foolish to co-sign a loan. If you want to help someone GIVE them something, but don’t become responsible for their bill… because it his probable that you will end up paying for it… and if you don’t have the financial margin to cover it you will both sink!
Solomon said it like this:
It is poor judgment to co-sign a friend’s note, to become responsible for a neighbor’s debts.(Proverbs 17:18 NLT)
#15 A strategically timed gift will open doors for you.
Some people may call this a “bribe” and denounce this practice. Solomon would say it’s wise to use strategically timed gifts (though certainly he would insist on a high level of integrity as the whole of Proverbs indicates).
A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great. (Proverbs 18:16 NLT)
A couple of other verses in Proverbs make this case too:
A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it; wherever he turns, he succeeds. (Proverbs 17:8 NIV)
Many beg favors from a prince; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts! (Proverbs 19:6 NLT)
- A secret gift calms anger; a secret bribe pacifies fury. (Proverbs 21:14 NLT)
Businesses recognize this. They often give perks and rewards with hopes of winning your trust and return business. Men recognize this! It’s why we bring flowers when we’re trying to win the heart of our lady! Keep it in mind… a strategically timed gift might just be what is needed to open the door for you.
#16 Passion without a plan leads to poverty.
OHHHH! This is a big one! Look at this:
Zeal without knowledge is not good; a person who moves too quickly may go the wrong way. (Proverbs 19:2 NLT)
You’ve seen it… and maybe even done it (I have)… invested in a poorly thought through idea… and payed for it… BIG TIME. Here’s the scoop, passion (i.e. zeal) is not a bad thing… it’s passion without a plan that will sink you. Let your passion drive you to put together a plan and then work that plan! Solomon says that, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT).
#17 Watch out for the person who is always negotiating.
Solomon writes, “The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,” then brags about getting a bargain!” (Proverbs 20:14).
There’s certainly nothing wrong with working to get a good deal… just be mindful that the “negotiator” who mocks your price may later mock you because he snickered you out of your goods. (“Snickered”… not exactly sure what that means but it sounds right here).
The point here is that you should not be deceived or tricked in your financial dealings by smooth talking cons. Be mindful!
OK, here’s the scoop, there is so much more to say about finances from Proverbs! I just can’t get it all in over the course of these six weeks, so I encourage you to take one month to read and make note of all the references to finances in the book of Proverbs! You’ll be wiser, and likely even richer for the wisdom you accumulate!