28 Those who trust in their riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and the one who is wise saves lives.
31 If the righteous receive their due on earth,
how much more the ungodly and the sinner!
It may not be a bad thing to have wealth, but what if your wealth has you? The problem with greed is that asks too much, expecting more security and significance than money can possibly provide. The righteous are grieved when investments crumble, a health crises comes, or a relationship unravels – but the greedy are devastated. Only the Lord can provide the security and significance we deeply desire, it is folly to put anything else in his place.
“Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.” Few people plan to bring ruin on their family, the problem is that many don’t plan not to. In the present inheritance may seem like an abstraction, easily pawned for a quick fix or a bowl of stew. Temptation always exaggerates present rewards while downplaying future costs, the fool is convinced he can handle the consequences. But in the end he is left with nothing, even his freedom has been squandered.
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives.” While righteousness produces fruit, it is wisdom that puts it to use. What good is one without the other? The one who seeks righteousness for his own sake, whether for moral superiority or the recognition of others, is perhaps the most tragic of fools. Who is further from repentance than the self-righteous? There is no true wisdom without humility, no true righteousness without love. Both are measured by their effect on others, the Lord “desire[s] mercy, not sacrifice.”
“If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!” There is nothing in scripture to suggest that righteousness exempts one from suffering. Show me an exemplar of righteousness, and I will show you a person familiar with grief. But that which crushes the ungodly and the sinner, produces perseverance, character and hope in the righteous. There is far more glory for those who have suffered into greatness, than for the one who has had nothing to overcome.