Probing Proverbs 13:7-8 Some who are poor pretend to be rich; others who are rich pretend to be poor. The rich can pay a ransom for their lives, but the poor won’t even get threatened.
Human beings are very interesting creations. I knew a very wealthy man living outside of the city. He had a driver that would drive him in a very expensive Mercedes to work every day. At one point, the area of his office became a major hot bed for kidnapping. Many executives were being nabbed from their cars, primarily based on the kind of vehicle they drove. The traffic moves less then 2 mph during rush hour in this part of the city. (That is why I lived on a motorcycle for the majority of my time in Manila.) What my friend began doing was having the driver stop right before he entered the city, and he would switch places with his driver. He would put on the driver’s hat and have his driver sit in the back seat reading the paper. (I don’t know if he really read, I would spend my time praying!!)
Though I do not agree with what my friend did, he is a prime example of wrestling with “Image” vs. “Reality.” He was rich, and there is nothing wrong with that, he also understood the complications that are attached to that. I have found that most people that condemn the rich are either driven by jealousy, because they have deluded themselves into believing that being rich would make their life perfect and bring them joy; or they are driven by guilt, because they are also rich and find solace in attacking the rich…deluding themselves that they are not part of that group!
The Wisdom communicated in this section of Scripture is profound! Why would some pretend to be rich when they are not? When we think of “rich” we assume power, knowledge, attraction and a general superiority. Having a lot of material wealth actually communicates nothing but that! You possess a large quantity of “stuff!” The quality of life comes from within, not the external possessions you have. However, if you can convince others that you are a part of this elite club, many will give you authority over their lives. They will try to impress you and even serve you. The sinful nature loves being served, thus some that are poor will endeavor to cast themselves as rich.
With that being true, why would some that are rich pretend to be poor? Again, when we think of “poor” we assume humility, needy, in the same boat as most people in this world. This image would remove this person as a target to be approached for help financially. That is one of the greatest fears of the rich because many times they are made targets of greed and manipulation. This reality was a difficult one for me to wrestle with when I ministered in the “depressed” areas of Manila. As I began to minister I found the majority of fellow missionaries would tell the folks they were working with that they were also poor. That infuriated me! Nothing was further from the truth. Every missionary I have ever met…including me… was “lower income” compared to their USA peers, which made us rich compared to the folks we worked with along the rivers in Manila.
What I wrestled with is my disdain I felt toward my brothers for such pretence. The Holy Spirit used this emotion to first, not judge, second, be responsible only for my words, and third, use this reality to minister truth to those I was reaching out to. God did use the Truth in a powerful way. All I ministered to and especially those I discipled received from me this thought: Compared to you I am rich, but you need to understand that riches do not bring joy and contentment in life. They do make you comfortable. But I would rather be full of joy and loving life…and uncomfortable, than comfortable and miserable! God is the one that blesses His children with their level of economic comfort. Pursue Him, and let Him give you the financial position He knows is best for you.
I also pointed out the plus of not being a target, especially for kidnapping, which all that lived in Manila knew was a serious problem.
The so what? If there is a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow, there are two things you need to consider: 1. Am I rich in spirit and character, because only those go with me into eternity? 2. If God has supplied material wealth what does He desire me to do with this pot of gold, i.e. how much do I keep and what do I do with the rest? God makes it clear we will be called to account for all the “stuff” He gave us. Have you taken the time to evaluate who you are? How much of your riches are inward versus outward? How are you handling your outward riches?