Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
What is real success? Are you successful? If you trust this inspired proverb, you learn that success is living right regardless of assets and failure is living foolishly regardless of assets. Accept this godly wisdom, and reject the world’s lying ideas of success.
Will you believe these words? The Creator God inspired them, and the world’s most successful man wrote them – the king with the most wisdom and wealth. What hinders you from believing these words of truth? Do you think you are smarter than Solomon?
“Better” indicates a priority for life from God and Solomon, which is a way of teaching wisdom in this book. Do you fear God and crave wisdom enough to believe it? Can you easily put more emphasis on walking uprightly than making money, and keep it there?
Can you be content in poverty? Or must you achieve middle class distinction to be content with uprightness? Please note that the Preacher exalted a poor man in this proverb. David and Solomon taught that a very little with godliness is better than great riches without it (Ps 27:4; 37:16; 84:10; Pr 15:16; 16:8,19; 19:1,22). Embrace this truth.
Walking in uprightness is choosing a lifestyle that keeps your integrity before God and men by always doing what is holy, righteous, just, and noble. Is this your passion? Having God pleased with you and good men rejoicing in you should be your ambition.
Most men live perverse lives, by choosing a lifestyle that disregards and violates the word of God and His precepts. Their choices in life are selfish and wicked, not righteous. This is what the vast majority of all men choose, and it makes God their enemy (Jas 4:4).
This choice between an upright life and a perverse life will lead to your blessing or to your fall, depending on your choice (Matt 7:13-14,21-27; I Tim 6:17-19). No amount of money can save your soul from trouble here or hereafter, so it is of little value to success.
The world measures success by satisfying your eyes, body, and pride (I John 2:15-17). And the devil uses fiery darts to promote it (Luke 4:5-8). Can you reject both influences by faith in God’s word? You choose daily which inputs will lead to your decisions.
Paul confirmed this proverb by writing, “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim 6:6). And he condemned financial ambition (I Tim 6:7-10). A poor man, living a godly life, and choosing contentment with his position and income, is the true measure of success. God approves him, and he is happy with what he has. What a blessed situation!
Are you thankful for the true success God has given you? If you desire to live a godly life in uprightness and are content with your life, God has blessed you by His grace to have these desires and to have pursued them (Phil 2:12-13). And if you have a source for learning the way of righteousness, a Bible church and pastor, you have all that you need.