23 Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds,
24 for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.
25 After the hay is harvested and the new crop appears and the mountain grasses are gathered in,
26 your sheep will provide wool for clothing, and your goats will provide the price of a field.
27 And you will have enough goats’ milk for yourself, your family, and your servant girls.
Proverbs 27:23-27 (NLT)
Welcome to my Bible Study Blog. This time, I am studying it from the perspective of wealth management. The Bible contains many lessons on wealth management from God that benefits us. Proverbs 27:23-27 is one of them.
Let us start with the background of the above passage. It was based on a rural environment where it was common to keep domestic animals like goats, cattle and sheep. This passage was written to advise the people there to take good care of their animals because when they do, their animals will take care of their life expenses. How can we benefit from this advice?
What will you do when you receive a windfall? A windfall can be in the form of winning a lucky draw that comes with a lot of money, a huge bonus, salary increase or a drastic increase in the value of your property. I believe most people will celebrate and spend like they have never spent before. They will have a great time in their lives but after some time, they will get back to their pre-windfall standard of life. Why? They spent all their money. They are poor again.
There are people who are just earning enough for their expenses. We call that making ends meet. Suddenly their salaries are doubled. Logically you would have thought that they would be able to save half of their salary. However, they will still end up making ends meet. Why? They increased their expenses along with their salaries. They may buy bigger houses and cars. After deducting the new installments they will have nothing left in their bank account.
This is not the will of God for us when he blessed us with financial prosperity. God will not give you a lot of money for you to enjoy for a few months and back to normal again. He wants our prosperity to be permanent. This is why he wants us to learn wealth management and he put in the principles of wealth management in the Bible. In other words, God wants to give us a lot of money to make us permanently rich and he wants us to manage it well.
Proverbs 27:23-27 speaks of taking care of animals. These animals represent income producing assets. Today’s equivalent could be rental properties and dividend paying stocks. It refers to assets that can provide us with continuous income. Why do we need them? Proverbs 27:24 tells us riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation. This means our money in the bank will not last. Unless you are super rich, you will use up the pile of money in the bank. The “crown” here refers to our jobs. Let me tell you the truth about your jobs. They belong to your employer, not you. We do not own our jobs. As long as you are employed, you are at the mercy of your employer. God wants our prosperity to be secure and not be at the mercy of any other party.
“Does this mean we should not work?”
We are designed by God to work. Work is meant to be a fulfillment to our lives and not to keep us in bondage. If we have to depend on our jobs and forced to toil in and suffer in it to pay the bills, we are under bondage. God wants us to enjoy ourselves and glorify him in our work. It is his will to set us free so that we don’t have to work for money. It is the will of God for money to work for us. Money is meant to be our servants not masters. He wants us to work because we want to and not because we have to. I call this the freedom to work.
One of the reasons why God wants us to have continuous supply of prosperity is to enable us to be free to do what he has put in our hearts to do without being constrained by the lack of resources. Therefore, when he gives us a lot of money, he expects us to invest in “goats and sheep” in order to ensure continuous supply of milk and wool. When you are overflowed with milk and wool, share them with those who are hungry and naked.
Please note that God is never against us living in a bigger house, driving bigger cars, wearing expensive clothes and enjoying any other luxuries. He wants us to get our priorities right. He does not want us to sacrifice the goose that lays golden eggs for our luxury. He wants us to wait for the goose to lay golden eggs first and then sell the eggs for our luxuries. Spend the eggs and keep the goose.
How do we do that? The following are the priorities we should consider:
Priority 1: Tithe and Sow
These should be our first priority as they guarantee future windfall into our lives. When we tithe and sow, we are setting the stage for greater prosperity in the future. Please note that I mention tithing and sowing separately because they work in a different way.
Tithe is restricted at 10% of our income. The full benefits are stated in Malachi 3. When we tithe, we are making our field fertile, creating the perfect weather for our crops to grow and provide full protection to our crops from pest and other enemies. However, it does not come with free seeds. So, if you tithe and not sow, you will have a fertile field, the perfect weather and full protection from pests but it is empty because you did not sow any seeds in it.
This is why, after our tithe we need to sow as well. Unlike tithing, there is no fixed amount to sow. So we can sow as much or as little as we want but the bottom line is our harvest is proportional to the amount of seeds we sowed. The more we sow, the larger our harvest will be. If we sow and not tithe, our seeds may not grow well as it will be subjected to risks from the nature.
Therefore, the combination of tithing and sowing will provide us with the best outcome for our prosperity. In doing so, we are making a statement to the world that the richer we are, the world will be a better place. There will be lesser people dying of hunger, more people getting to hear the Gospel, lesser sufferings and more joy.
Priority 2: Clear all debts.
Debts are financial cancer. Being in debt restricts our finances. Therefore, we should be determined to clear them as soon as we can.
Priority 3: Buy goats and sheep
This is the lesson in Proverbs 27:23-27. We should start looking for gooses that lay golden eggs and get them. As mentioned earlier, this represents income producing assets. If you are living in the same environment as Proverbs 27:23-27, you may consider buying more goats, sheep or any other domestic animals and provide the best environment for them to grow and reproduce. As they grow and reproduce, your net-worth will increase.
The other option is to buy properties to rent out. The rental will serve as income for you. You have to ask God to show you where your “goats and sheep” are and commit your wealth in it. Only then you can make your prosperity permanent.
As for luxuries, the best option is to buy the “goose” first and get your luxuries after the golden eggs come. If you really cannot resist the temptation, then set aside a fixed portion for it and make sure that you don’t touch the rest.
In conclusion, God wants us to manage our wealth wisely. Only then will he trust us with more prosperity.