August 15, 2019

Rags or Riches?

Proverbs 23:1-9, 17-35

Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

—  Proverbs 23:20-21

Proverbs 23 offers wise advice: Be careful of chasing after riches, for they are soon gone. Be wary of eating too many delicacies and drinking too much wine. Not only will they make you sick; they will also trap you and drag you into folly. Beware of joining in with revelers and adulterers; the pleasures of sex and partying will only deceive you and ruin you in the end.

Today, thousands of years later, the temptations of easy money, strong drink, sex, and gluttony remain powerful. And the results are the same as ever: ruined relationships, a life in shambles, addiction, and poverty.

Proverbs urges young people to listen to the warnings of their parents, to get wisdom and discipline—or they may end up stumbling through the streets, begging for a handout among cars stopped at a traffic light.

If for some reason you have fallen into trouble in life, it’s not too late to turn around. God loves you, and his forgiveness is available for the asking.

“Be zealous for the fear of the Lord,” and there will be “a future hope for you.” If your heart is anchored in God’s love, “your hope will not be cut off.” You may not end up rich here on earth, but you won’t be reduced to rags.

The riches of the good news of God’s salvation last forever!

Without you, Lord, we are like a sinking ship, flashing out an SOS signal: “Save Our Souls.” Through Christ we ask you to save and renew us. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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