Never Enough

Reading the Word

Proverbs 30:15–16 (ESV)
15 The leech has two daughters: Give and Give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough”:
16 Sheol, the barren womb, the land never satisfied with water, and the fire that never says, “Enough.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

How much is enough? Today’s passage speaks of two leeches that are named Give and Give, as in “Give me more. Give me more.” They are never satisfied. We then read of four things that never say, “Enough.” The four things are the grave, the barren womb, the desert wanting more water, and fire as it consumes its fuel.

It is interesting to note that this passage follows on the heels of a verse that speaks of those who devour the poor and needy for their own gain (cf. Proverbs 30:14). We certainly live in a world where wealth and possessions is the chief concern of most. Wisdom tells us that we must find satisfaction in what God has given us and also look out for those in need. We must be different than the world. We must find our satisfaction in knowing and being known by Jesus Christ and serving him.


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Equality

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page to follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

The poor man and the oppressor meet together; the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.(Proverbs 29:13, ESV)

The Lord Is Maker of Them All

Reading the Word

The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all.(Proverbs 22:2, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

The opening chapter of Genesis tells us that God made everything that exists. The pinnacle of that creation was mankind, who God created in his own image. As image-bearers, mankind is inherently valuable, regardless of race, sex, social standing, or any other distinguishing characteristic. The Lord is Maker of them all.

This verse is an important one to remember. We must never think that economic status, or any other thing, makes a person of greater value than another. Every person has value and dignity because they were created by God. Therefore, we should not look down at others because they are not like us, but recognize them for who they are as image bearers.


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The Rich and the Poor

Reading the Word

Proverbs 19:4 (ESV)

4 Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.

Proverbs 19:6–7 (ESV)

6 Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.

7 All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them.

Understanding and Applying the Word

I am back from vacation. It was a nice week away. I hope you enjoyed reading some of the old posts that were shared throughout the week. Today, we are back in Proverbs and talking about wealth. This is a topic we can all relate to. We all use money and possessions, but there can be a large gap between those who have much and those who have very little. As these verses tell us, our wealth can also influence our personal relationships.

The poor person struggles to maintain friends. The wealthy has many companions. This may seem to cast a favorable light on the wealthy and a negative one on the poor, but that is not the point. The point of these verses is to show us that not all companions are true. Some are only there because they can get something out of the other. Once the benefit is taken away, they are gone. What kind of friend are you? Are you the kind who is only interested in what you can get out of a relationship? Or are you the kind of friend who loves the other person for who they are, even if it means there is nothing they can offer in return except their words?


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Insulting God

Reading the Word

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 17:5, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

Caring for the poor, the less fortunate, and the vulnerable is mentioned in many places throughout Scripture. Unfortunately, we can often develop a mentality where we look down on those who are struggling and believe ourselves to be better. We jump to blame others for their circumstances and take credit for our own successes, not admitting that circumstances can be outside of our control. A person may be poor, not due to laziness, but due to a long chain of poverty that is hard to break. A person may struggle due to a physical or mental illness. And we may have reached success, not because of our hard work and greater abilities, but simply because we were graced with opportunities others did not have.

When we look down on others with hard hearts and the mindset that they got what they deserved, we insult God. Why is this the case? Because all people are created in the image of their Creator, even the poor and vulnerable. We must not think of ourselves as better, but we must look for ways to care for others and help them thrive as our God intended.


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Love Is Better

Reading the Word

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.(Proverbs 15:17, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

We live in a material world. Wealth and possessions and stuff is seen as the ultimate goal and the things that bring happiness and contentment. However, this is simply not true. As this proverbs points out, love is more important than stuff. You are better off with a meager existence (living on vegetables) that includes love than a rich one (living on the best cuts of meat) where love is lacking.

Do not fall for the lie that says that having a few more things will make you happy. Things are unfulfilling. It is love that brings happiness and contentment. We need to love others and know we are loved. Take the time to invest in relationships with others. Those investments will bring true happiness.


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Oppressing the Poor

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental material on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page to follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Proverbs 14:31 (ESV)
31 Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.


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The Poor and Injustice

Reading the Word

Proverbs 13:23 (ESV)
23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.

Understanding and Applying the Word

What causes people to be poor? Well, there are many reasons we could discuss. A common reason mentioned in the book of Proverbs is sloth, or laziness. However, we must not think that every poor person is lazy or that every poor person is to blame for their poverty. Today’s proverb tells us that some poverty is caused through injustice. Those who are more powerful keep some in poverty.

Christians must be known for justice. We want what pleases God and he is pleased when we do what is right. We live in a world where injustice is prevalent., so we must continue to work for justice and continue to proclaim the gospel to all people. The gospel tells us that all people are created in the image of God and that Christ died for a who will turn to him in faith.


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A Poor Widow’s Offering

person holding pink piggy coin bank

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Reading the Word

Mark 12:41–44 (ESV)

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Parallel Text: Luke 21:1-4

Understanding and Applying the Word

In today’s passage we read of a woman who gave “two small copper coins, which make a penny.” The coins that are mentioned are lepta. A lepton was a Jewish coin worth about 1/128th of a day’s wage. So, two coins would have only been worth about 1/64th of a daily wage. The two coins were of a very small value. They were insignificant by worldly standards.

Jesus commented on the woman’s offering and remarked that the woman had given more than the rich people who put in large sums. Why did he say this? Because the rich gave out of their excess. It was easy for them to give the amounts they did. They would never miss it! However, the woman was poor and gave all that she had to live on. Her gift was truly sacrificial and revealed what was truly valuable to her.

It is a well-known saying: “Show me what a person spends his money on and I will tell you what is truly important to him.” What would our financial records reveal about us. Do we put God and his kingdom first, or are we only ready and willing to give out of our excess? How we use our money, possessions, and time truly reveals what is most important to us.

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Sell Your Possessions and Give to the Needy

grayscale photo of human lying on ground covered of cardboard box

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Reading the Word

Luke 12:33–34 (ESV)

33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus spoke a great deal about possessions and coveting in the previous verses (cf. Luke 12:13-32). The focus of his teaching was telling his disciples to learn to trust that God would care for them. The disciples needed to learn to make kingdom priorities their priorities while trusting that their daily needs would be provided by their loving Father.

To end this section and in keeping with the same theme, Jesus told his disciples to sell their possessions and give to the needy. Again, care for the needy is a kingdom priority. Believers are called to care for others because all people are created in the image of God. We are to show Christ’s love for others by caring for them and by also sharing the gospel message.

People are much more important than possessions. Possessions eventually just end up in the trash can or left behind when we die. Instead, we should concentrate on things that last for eternity. We should invest in people, in the kingdom of Christ, and in proclaiming the gospel. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.”

What are the priorities in your life?

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