Proverbs 13:11

Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

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“But it worked,” the fool tells a wise man questioning his business dealings. “Look at this check! People do not send you money for nothing. Read these testimonials. Others are getting rich doing the same thing. Stop trying to discourage me from getting ahead. You go work for someone else. I will find my dreams and be financially independent.”

Ha! The Preacher Solomon, the most successful and richest man who ever lived, inspired by God to see through deception, fraud, hoaxes, and scams, laughs and laughs. He knows that this fool is going down, and he knows that the wise man, who keeps going to work every day at his ordinary job, is going up. He laughs at fools’ financial ignorance. Ha!

Vanity is a vain, foolish, unprofitable, or wrong approach to something (Ps 39:5,11; 62:9; Eccl 2:11,26; 3:19; 4:7-8; 6:2; 7:6; Is 41:29; Jer 16:19; 51:18). Wealth gotten by vanity is temporary results from vain, foolish, unprofitable, or wrong business or investment practices. The illusion of success is not real – it is a deceitful lie. Going down, anyone?

Do results impress you? The fool in this proverb is wealthy. His vain methods of business and investment worked. He has results. Or does he really? He will lose what he thinks he has, and he will end up lower and behind the man who works hard at a real job. Results can be very deceiving. Are you wise enough to know that results prove next to nothing?

Do results impress you? There are thousands of testimonials for every scam ever sold. Yes, thousands! Yes, every scam! You do not read testimonials? Ever? Great! They are a deceptive mix of wishful thinking, inaccurate measurements, placebo effect, unverified facts, connection of unrelated events, crowd psychology, and lying. They are pure vanity!

Who would read testimonials about working hard day after day in an ordinary job? It does not tickle the ears of fools or sluggards, does it? Who would read testimonials about denying yourself to increase your saving? King Solomon would! Thank you, Lord. If you do not believe Solomon’s testimony here, there is cheap swampland for sale in Florida.

Do results impress you? In the early stages, Ponzi schemes, pyramid frauds, and MLM programs produce temporary profits and wealth. But the success does not last, and it never reaches more than a miniscule number of participants. Who wants to “go into business for yourself,” where 2% of the “distributors” make all the profits? Going down?

Much of Holland speculated in tulips in the 1630s; many became rich. But the bottom fell out and crushed the fools in 1637. Many in England traded the stock of the South-Sea Company to wealth, which was based only on hope. There was a total collapse in 1720. The Roaring Twenties brought the U.S. stock market to ridiculous heights before it crashed, leaving the nation in a multi-year depression. And after running up the new dotcom stocks in 2000, though none had made a profit, the whole NASDAQ stock index collapsed 70% in the following months. The fools were spanked, hard!

This phenomenon of temporary success for foolish and fraudulent business ventures is called the prosperity of fools (Pr 1:32). It attracts more fools to be punished. Notice in this proverb that wealth is indeed obtained. But the wealth does not continue, for it has been gotten by foolish and wrong means, and it will be diminished shortly. God will not allow it to continue, and neither will the laws of economics and finance. Going down?

Such vain results are diminished several ways. They were gotten hastily without effort, so they leave the same way. Many say, “Easy come, easy go.” Such results create a false sense of success, which leads to more foolish decisions. The perceived prosperity also leads to excessive spending to show off wealth. And the Lord Himself will blow against their efforts, for He will not let fools succeed for long by violating His ordinances.

Men are tempted by any idea allowing them to work less and make more. It is the deceitful nature of wicked hearts to expect something for nothing, especially in this spoiled and lazy generation. Men love lies; they resent truth. Due to this temptation, the proverb warns you against it. If you want to get ahead financially, then get to work, now!

Hard work done consistently over time with savings and investment will result in increase. And God will multiply your efforts. This is financial wisdom. Are you able to rule your foolish and deceitful heart and believe it? It is your perverse flesh that wants to work less and make more. Choose wisdom! Going up? See the comments on Pr 12:11.

Hard work and discipline for financial success will continue to work into the future, for the character traits it took to make some progress will lead to more progress. And with investment capital in hand, the hardworking man can now buy productive assets to leverage his character and efforts into greater returns. See the comments on Pr 14:4.

The commandments of the Lord Jesus, to teach you how to walk and please God, include how you work (I Thess 4:1-12). Provide things honest in the sight of all men by rejecting financial vanity and being a faithful and diligent worker (Rom 12:17; Eph 4:28). Both God and men will respect your character and reward your efforts.