It’s always interesting to me when Christians feel funny talking about money. The Bible is full of financial principles. In particular, the Book of Proverbs has plenty of insight into how to think about wealth. A common theme is the prosperity of the righteous and the downfall of the wicked. Proverbs 15:6 says, “In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked,” and Proverbs 22:16 notes that “One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.”
However, one of my favorite descriptions of this concept can be found in Proverbs 13:22. It says:
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
I like the sound of that! However, it also generates some questions. For example, if the righteous are to displace the wealth of the wicked, then why:
• Do millions of Christians experience poverty?
• Does the stock market generate billions of dollars from companies contributing to immoral causes such as abortion?
• Is a profit of $3,000 per second made through pornography in the United States?
Like Job, we ask, “why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful?” (Job 21:7)
Now and Not Yet
When Jesus’ walked this earth, He frequently preached, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom. However, it won’t be fully realized until Christ returns. In terms of the Kingdom, we live in the now and not yet. This tension fuels our mission as followers of Christ.
For example, in Christ’s Kingdom, the righteous are blessed, and the wicked don’t prosper from their schemes. If we know that is an aspect of Christ’s Kingdom, we should do everything we can to make it a present reality. As Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
The Meaning of Proverbs 13:22
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
Everyone wants to leave a legacy. God designed us with a desire to be fruitful, multiply, and make a lasting impact. There is more than one way to leave an inheritance. At WealthBuilders, we want to equip people to impart spiritual and financial legacy.
Building wealth for future generations is a selfless act. It’s like planting a tree you will never eat from. My friend, pastor, and real estate investor Dan Dyer gives one of the best teachings I’ve heard on generational wealth. He asks the following question in response to Proverbs 13:22:
“What if the wealth of the wicked laid up for us is so that we can influence, impart, discover, develop, and deploy the next generation?” Dan continues, “The next generation is our glory and the Lord’s inheritance.”
In other words, Proverbs 13:22 describes a cycle: the righteous attain the wealth of the wicked, and then they use it to leave an inheritance for their children. If those children go astray or are not taught how to steward their money, their wealth will fall into the hands of the next righteous generation.
How to Apply Proverbs 13:22
Proverbs 13:22 doesn’t mean that God will steal money out of some people’s safes and drop it on the laps of others. To be honest, this is where many prosperity teachers have gone wrong. They tell you that you can prosper, but they don’t tell you how to prosper. Money doesn’t rain down from the sky (but if you happen to see that, please let me know.) Jokes aside, wealth in the earth simply changes hands.
Here are 3 ways you can be ready to receive it:
1. Get knowledge.
You need knowledge in order to recognize a good opportunity when it comes to you. I’m preaching to the choir—if you’re on the WealthBuilders blog, you’re already hungry for information. That’s a great start! I encourage you to fully commit to the journey. You don’t know what you don’t know. Consume a steady, well-rounded diet of financial content. Read books, listen to podcasts, subscribe to financial e-newsletters, ask questions, and surround yourself with trusted mentors. WealthBuilders University is a great place to start if you haven’t enrolled yet. (You can get a 7 day free trial to WealthBuilders University here.)
2. Be faithful and multiply what you have.
At some point, information must become revelation. Apply the knowledge to the resources you already have. You must steward your current financial responsibilities well before you can handle an increase. In His grace, God won’t attract more wealth to your life if you can’t manage what you’ve got.
Nobody built significant wealth by earning and saving. You must learn how to invest. You don’t need a lot of money to begin. At its core, investing is just making one into a little (or a lot) more. Here are some ideas:
– Create a budget that allocates room for investing
– Buy undervalued items and flip them for a profit
– Save for a down payment on a personal home. If you’re already a homeowner, save for your first rental property.
– Open a Roth IRA
3. Invest in a biblically responsible way.
There are systemic reasons why the wicked have wealth in the first place. The stock market is full of companies that support abortion, human trafficking, and pornography. When people invest in those companies, more wealth is quite literally handed over to the wicked. However, there is good news: you can be a conscientious investor for the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Biblically Responsible Investing movement is gaining momentum. A Biblically Responsible Investment strategy avoids investments that support causes contrary to a biblical worldview. When you invest in companies that promote human flourishing, you actively transfer money to the righteous. We created WealthBuilders Investment Services for that very purpose. If you want to learn more about how to make a difference with your money through WealthBuilders Investments, head to https://www.wealthbuilders.org/invest/.