In the middle of Proverbs chapter 17 there is an odd little question. Verse 16 asks, “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” (NIV) The NASU asks it a different way, “Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, when he has no sense?” I look around and I see vast amounts of resources being wasted. I see genuine fools with so little money that they stand in line at food pantries, and yet they smoke and drink up what little money they do have. I see other real life fools who have been blessed and/or worked hard to get ahead in life, and even though they have the resources to do much good in life, they waste virtually all of it on their own selfish pleasures. Those pleasures will indeed be fleeting. Rather than being wasted, those blessings could have been converted into eternal rewards stored up in heaven for these stewards. I am inclined to cry out, “Why?” Certainly I have no right to question God. My thoughts are much lower than His. My wisdom is less than foolishness compared to His wisdom. The resources in question do not belong to me. Those same resources don’t belong to the lazy fool or to the hard working fool either. Those resources belong to Almighty God.
There is another truth to consider. Really and truly, it’s not a settled fact that I am wise enough to even be able to distinguish a fool from a wise man.
That presents a dilemma for me and other believers in Christ. We are called to be wise stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. We are commanded to aid the needy. We are commanded to spread the good news about Christ around the world. God has not given us unlimited resources. We have to make decisions about how to use our limited resources for taking care of our families, aiding others, and furthering God’s kingdom. Sometimes we directly give resources to the needy because we know them personally. Sometimes we give to benevolent organizations because we know the organization, trusting them to use the resources wisely. Sometimes we directly use our resources to share Christ personally. Sometimes we give to evangelistic organizations because we know the organizations and trust them to use those resources wisely. You are acting wisely when you get to know intimately the organizations you give to. Make sure that your number one goal is to bring glory to God.
As a believer in Christ, you are commanded to share the blessings with which you have been blessed. Take that responsibility seriously. Share. Do your best to become personally familiar with the people with whom you share. Money is not the only resource you have been blessed with. Share some of your time and talents as well. Certainly God intends for His children to use some of their blessings on their own pleasure. However, just as certainly, a person with sense, a wise person, would not waste time and money on fleeting pleasures when he or she could be storing up rewards in heaven that could be enjoyed eternally. A person with sense, a wise person, would not hoard unnecessary resources that will ultimately pass away, when they could instead use them for the glory of God. Of what use is the money in your hand?