A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that makes haste to be rich shall not be innocent.…
Nowhere does the Bible denounce riches. It tells men very plainly what the dangers are. It denounces very strongly the conduct of rich men. But the motive to good conduct, in the Old Testament period, was the promise of secular prosperity — abundance. The Bible asserts that riches are a great blessing; and poverty a great misfortune. It is the method of God's development and education of the race to bring men up to higher levels by those processes by which men develop larger means, various riches, and the comforts of life, and give to the household broader foundations, ampler powers. It goes against the educated religious feeling of men for one to say that the way of riches was meant to be the way of religion; yet it is true. All barbarous nations are poor. The Bible speaks the sentiment of universal mankind when it regards riches held in the hand of virtue as being an eminent blessing from God.
I. RICHES MAY EITHER BE PRODUCED OR COLLECTED. The foundation of all prosperity is production. He increases the riches of a society that applies his reason and skill to the raw material of the globe, or that brings it from inertness to positive service, and gives to matter the power of serving man. He produces wealth. Then comes the man who utilises it; creates it into garments, houses, utensils, etc. The foundation of all value is not what a thing costs in making it, but what is inherent in it of thought and skill. What part of man was used in producing it; and to what part of a man is such properly addressed? The man who produces wealth is the foundation man. It is the law of the production of wealth that a man should render an equivalent for every stage of value. Sudden wealth is not hasty wealth, necessarily.
II. THE PRODUCTION OF WEALTH CONNECTS ITSELF WITH BENEVOLENCE, WITH SYMPATHY. The man who is developing property, as distinguished from money, is actually increasing the common wealth. It is a sad thing, but in the main true, that the producers of wealth are obliged to eat up the larger part of their product in order to have strength to work. But every man that is developing or producing riches is, at the same time, educating himself in morals, or should be. Patience is a moral quality; another name for self-control. The man who gets wealth legitimately is usually himself built up in inward riches fully as much as he builds up his estate in outward wealth.
III. HASTE TO BE RICH IS A GREAT DANGER TO MEN, BECAUSE IT TEMPTS THEM TO EMPLOY ILLEGITIMATE MEANS. Sleights, crafts, disingenuous ways, greed, violations of honesty. Haste runs along the edge of so many dangers, that a man's head must be peculiarly well set on his shoulders, and his brain must be very solid and sober, if he does not topple over into them. A man that is making haste to be rich is tempted to ostentation. But ostentation is expensive, and men are easily tempted to devise schemes to maintain it. Men having sudden wealth are apt to become cruel through indifference to other men's rights. Haste is apt to change into idolatry.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.