The more you get, the less you are.

They're racing to a very bad end, hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on. Nobody robs a bank with everyone watching, Yet that's what these people are doing— they're doing themselves in. When you grab all you can get, that's what happens: the more you get, the less you are. -Proverbs 1:16-19 MSG

Solomon's statement: "the more you get, the less you are" speaks to me of how important it is to keep ourselves free of the love of money and material things. I think that we reveal a dark life philosophy when our definition of success encompasses the location of our house or the model of our car. In my thinking success is never defined in material terms - some of the most successful people are poor when wealth is defined by their bank account.

Just as greed takes life away generosity gives it back to us. Developing a generous heart is the only way that we can defeat greed and the temptation to be stingy. Being generous is so much more than giving to the church ... it is a habit we develop when we tip our waiter/waitress after a meal ... it is reflected by the grace we give others when they are late for an appointment ... it is responding with gratitude when we don't have to. It is the antidote to greed.

Free us Lord from the love of things. Help us to be outrageously generous.


  1. An engaging title for a post. I had to read it, then I had to read the verse in other translations.

    It sounded very powerful, but not entirely accurate. The more I thought about it, the less accurate it sounded ... especially in the Old Testament when material blessing was a legitimate indicator of divine favor. And sure enough, this looks like one of those places where the Message has written almost Zen philosophy into the scripture where it simply was not there originally. The original text simply says thieves risk their lives for money.

    While I love all the things you pointed out in your post, I cannot accept the premise that everything we own takes away from who we are. Material goods have no power to reduce us. You focused on greed, and greed certainly reduces us, but I've known plenty of greedy people with barely two dollars to rub together.

    Anyway, a nice start to Sunday morning. Lord bless.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Kevin. Petersen does take liberties with The Message. I agree with your take on his paraphrase. Also know poor people who are materialistic and greedy. Happy Sunday to you brother.


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