How To Stay Poor

You probably don’t want a recipe for poverty, but the more pertinent question may be, are you unwittingly following it?  Proverbs 21:17 says: “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.”

The point of this verse is that it takes self-discipline and sacrifice to save up riches — little sacrifices which are made over time.  Someone who “loves pleasure”, like oil & wine, ends up spending his money on those things, and does not make the sacrifices needed to save and accumulate wealth.

There are a number of applications of this principle.  One is in regard to our physical condition.  It takes self-discipline in eating, and exercise, over time, to maintain one’s weight, and to be in good shape.  But a person who “loves pleasure” of food and drink too much will find it too difficult to deny their palate.

But as Paul reminds us “bodily discipline is of limited value” (I Timothy 4:8).  Surely there are more important, spiritual applications for us here as well:

— “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man” reminds us that there are people who are unwilling to give up worldly pleasures for the sake of the Kingdom of God. They will never know the surpassing riches the Lord has in store for them, because they refuse to give up “the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25).

— And it speaks as well to the Christian person who has not learned to discipline himself to seek God in the morning. “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man.”  If you love your sleep more than disciplining yourself to spend the time you need with God in prayer and in His word to begin your day, you will never grow spiritually rich.

This truth has many possibilities for application: “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man.”  How does it apply to your life today?

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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