20 In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,
but a foolish man devours all he has.
Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)
Same verse but in the New Living Translation:
20 The wise have wealth and luxury,
but fools spend whatever they get.
Proverbs 21:20 (NLT)
I chose two translations because I think together they clearly tell us what this verse is saying. The wise save up some of their earnings, but fools spend everything they get.
When talking about contentment and giving in the Bible, I’ve had people ask me if Christians should even save up money for emergencies or retirement. If we save, aren’t we relying on ourselves or our money instead of God? But, as with many things, it really depends on the motives in our hearts.
If we’re saving up because we don’t think God can provide or we don’t trust in God’s provision, then we’re obviously serving money and not God. But God clearly tells us several times in the Bible that the wise save up some of their money. The wise do not spend everything they get, and the wise prepare for trouble they see coming ahead.
God can take care of us in any situation, but He teaches us that it is wise to save up when we see that we’ll have a need in the future. This is why I don’t think God is against us having emergency funds or saving for a time in our lives when we won’t be able to work for pay. I’m not sure God wants us saving for things that don’t glorify Him, like a retirement where we golf every day or travel around the world purely for pleasure. It’s the same with anything really. If it doesn’t glorify God, there’s probably a good chance we should rethink it.
The next time you want to spend all of your paycheck or when the money in your pocket catches fire, remember that the wise person saves but the foolish person spends everything.