Proverbs 16 is in view today. Let’s look at a couple of verses and put them together. Take a look at Proverbs 16:16 and Proverbs 16:26, here from the NASB:
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is be chosen above silver.
A worker’s appetite works for him,
For his hunger urges him on.
Now, let us dispense with a pair of misconception. V. 16 does not justify excessive educational indebtedness. Don’t be silly when you read this and think “Ooh, I’ll be broke the rest of my days because of student loan debt.” That’s nonsense. Use wisdom in acquiring information, it’s not about the overall number of paid-for credit hours.
Second is interpreting v. 26 as encouraging starving workers and employees. That’s far from the concept here. Instead, this should be seen in light of motivation that comes internally. Be motivated, let your hunger urge you on. Having looked in the cabinet before and not known where the next day’s dinner was coming from, I have been more readily motivated and driven to take work. Even work I hated (see: loading UPS trailers in Memphis summer heat), because it put food on the table.
I’d like to merge these two thoughts together, though, and examine an idea.
What are you working for?
Are you working for gold and silver? Or are you working for wisdom and understanding? When you are working beyond meeting your fundamental needs, are you more focused on the bank account or growth in serving the Lord God?
This is a place that I think many of us, myself included, need growth. How often do we take a job for what we learn instead of what we earn? How many times to do we put back money to provide a monetary inheritance to future generations instead of an inheritance of wisdom?
Taking these two Proverbs together (as we should, given they are part of a unified book), I would suggest that our time and effort is better spent building up and transmitting wisdom than it is in transmitting cash. Let that be what you are driven and hunger for, more than something as trivial as gold and silver.
For our hunger to grow in understanding, as Believers in Christ, is a hunger to grow in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Which is a great thing to be driven forward in.