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September 18 – Thoughts on wealth and poverty

“A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.” – Proverbs 10:15

Scripture readings: Proverbs 10:15; 1 Timothy 6:17-19

Proverbs 10:15 is descriptive, not prescriptive. It is an observation about what it is like to be rich and poor in our world. Wisdom begins with awareness, leading to reflection, leading to wise action.

“A rich man’s wealth is his strong city” (Proverbs 10:15a). When you are a middle or upper-class person, your money buys a lot. It buys you the best education. It buys you better healthcare. It buys you a home in a more secure neighbourhood. It buys you a better lawyer when you need one. It buys church buildings, programs and theological training. It buys provision for old age. When we have money, we don’t think about how much it does for us.

When we inhabit middle or upper-class communities, we also don’t think about how “the poverty of the poor is their ruin” (Proverbs 10:15b). This proverb invites us to do so. It invites us to step into the lives and world of the poor, invite God to shatter our simplistic assumptions about them and consider what it looks like to embody the gospel among them.

This proverb also alerts us that we probably trust in our money over God more than we realize. “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 3:17). Let us acknowledge God as the Source of our wealth.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God for His material blessings. Ask Him to open your eyes and heart to the plight of the poor.
Pastor Richard Zekveld, his wife Nancy (nee Vandermeer), and their five children live in South Holland, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Richard has pastored Covenant Fellowship Church of South Holland (PCA) since 2015, he also works part-time in jail ministry as a chaplain for Chicagoland Prison Outreach. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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