Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: Proverbs 8:1–21; Matthew 16:26; Proverbs 8:22–31; Genesis 1:31; Proverbs 8:32–36; 9:1–18
New figures released by Oxfam indicate that by the year 2016, one percent of the world’s richest people will own 50 percent of the world’s wealth. As the World Economic Forum began this last week in Davos, Switzerland, more than 2,500 of these powerful people will fly on hundreds of private jets to attend the summit while dining on the finest of foods and staying at five-star hotels.
Oxfam, an international confederation of 17 organizations, began in Oxford, Oxfordshire in 1942, to seek worldwide solutions to poverty and injustice in the world. Their “goal is to enable people to exercise their rights and manage their own lives.”1
The numbers churned out by Oxfam are staggering. Members of this one percent had an average wealth of $2.7 million per adult. The richest 80 individuals in the world had the same amount of money as the poorest 50 percent of the entire population—that’s 3.5 billion people. About 1 billion people in the world only live on $1.25 a day.
The Bible book of Proverbs talks often about wealth. In our Sabbath school lesson for this week Solomon mentions riches several times when describing the value of wisdom. “Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her” (Proverbs 8:10, 11 NKJV).
Most of us have been tempted to daydream about living in material luxury. We’ve dabbled in pondering what it would be like to have a million bucks in the bank and to be able to purchase “all that we desire.” Wealth, of course, is not the problem from the Bible’s perspective. It is the love of money that trips us up. (Abraham was godly and wealthy.)
Scripture offers us more than temporary riches. Proverbs opens before us a door to wealth which lasts. It is found in wisdom. “Riches and honor are with me, enduring riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my revenue than choice silver” (Proverbs 8:18, 19).
Perhaps if we valued wisdom above wealth and pursued righteousness with more passion than riches, we would rise to a coveted position in the world. Substitute all the statistics which speak of the “wealthiest people” with the “wisest people” and you will begin to see that the most elite group, the one percent who should be most desired are those who seek wisdom at any cost.
Recommended resource: youtu.be
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