For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
How secure is your income? Your job? God and Solomon said your finances are shaky. They said your career is shaky. There are forces at work to take away your investments and savings, remove you from your profession, and leave you without income. It is a risk and threat that even rich, strong kings have faced and lost. This proverb is for your safety.
Wise men constantly assess the changing marketplace and prepare as well as possible for the future. Prudent men seek transferable skills for themselves and their sons that will always be needed and able to provide a living. God is ultimately in charge of the future, but He expects you to use the means and warnings He gives to protect yourself.
Solomon taught diligent care about your financial livelihood (Pr 27:23). Why? Rich men do not keep their wealth forever, and even kings lose their authority and rule. How much more are your financial wealth and means at risk? God expects His children to be diligent in business for good reasons (Rom 12:11; Eph 4:28; I Thes 4:11-12; Titus 2:9-10).
Riches are not for ever. The rich men of yesterday are not those of today, and the rich of today will not be tomorrow. Riches fly away (Pr 23:4-5). Where is Persia’s wealth today? The whole region is in poverty compared to its storied past. The Rothschilds once ruled Europe financially, but that banking family has been on the decline for 150 years.
Plantations once made men wealthy. But mechanization reduced profits until owning a factory brought riches. But labor unions, foreign labor, and a service industry transferred wealth again. And today, the information age has done it yet again. What was lucrative yesterday is today’s loser. You must have a transferable skill and secure your future.
Doth the crown endure to every generation? No! The greatest monarchs lost their thrones to enemies, death, or an heir’s folly. Rehoboam lost 10 of Israel’s 12 tribes when Solomon died! Where is Alexander the Great’s dynasty? His crown did not endure long at all. He died at 33, his heirs were killed, and his generals divided his empire four ways.
Charles I of England lost his crown and head to Parliament, and Louis XVI of France lost both to the French Revolution. Nicholas II was the last of the Romanovs, who had ruled Russia for 300 years. His life and reign also ended abruptly. These men lost their crowns, though they had the authority and power of a king. Your position is even more at risk.
Joseph Kennedy dreamed of an American political dynasty. But where is that family today? Assassinations and accidents have destroyed them. A future that appeared very bright in 1960 had evaporated by 2000. The crown does not endure to every generation. Your financial and professional standing are under threat right now. What will you do?
What is the lesson? Riches and position do not endure, so you must carefully secure your livelihood (Pr 27:23). Solomon gave this advice to his son, which means you need it more. If you are not careful, you could wake up tomorrow and be without assets, income, or both. Prudent men identify a transferable skill and manage it for financial security.
What is a transferable skill? First, it is a skill. It is expertise in a needed field that others will gladly pay for. It separates you from others. This is getting a life before a wife (Pr 24:27). Wise men pick professions that cannot be taken by immigrant labor, outsourcing to other nations, or machines. They know education or training are worth it, because each dollar or day invested reduces competitors. They seek certification as high as possible.
What is a transferable skill? Second, it is transferable. It must also be valuable in other cities or states. You must be flexible to change employers or location without reducing income or position. Licenses or certification from government, education, or industry help make a job transferable, whether it is a CDL Class A, an MBA, a CPA, or an M.D.
These basic rules also apply to owning your own business. A dying industry or new competitors can be worse than losing a job. You must choose a product or service with high demand, and you must provide added value to have an advantage over competitors. You must also measure the demand for your business and adjust in a changing market.
Review again – a transferable skill must involve expertise in a needed field, and it must allow flexibility to change employers or locations. An R.N. is an excellent example. Neglecting either of these two factors – a skill and transferable – is not wise, for there are market forces at work at all times to take your income and position (Pr 27:23).
High factory wages is neither a skill nor transferable. A layoff, plant closings, immigrant labor, robots, or outsourcing can end a job. A unique job in a unique factory can rarely be transferred, and not at the same pay. The high wages seduce to ignore the future, but then they are unemployed without a skill for new employment. They should have used their wages to pay for education or invest in a business. A high-paying job can be dangerous!
Consider lawyers. It is a definite skill, especially as laws multiply and court proceedings grow more complicated. It requires state certification that limits competitors to those with identifiable training. And because every nation and city needs many of them, it is a very transferable skill. It cannot be outsourced, and robots or machines cannot replace them.
Consider nursing. It is a definite skill, especially as health care becomes more and more sophisticated. It requires state certification that limits competitors to those with identifiable training. And because every nation and city needs many of them, it is a very transferable skill. It cannot be outsourced, and robots or machines cannot replace them.
The solution to your precarious income and position is in the previous proverb, “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds” (Pr 27:23). Strong men (and women) will do this, for another proverb reads, “Strong men retain riches” (Pr 11:16). Strong men work hard, work smart, avoid scams, make wise investments, avoid debt, foresee the future and adjust, and protect their families from financial trouble.
Incorporated in the book of Proverbs are some wise proverbs by the prophet Agur (Pr 30:1). He showed that some little creatures illustrate great wisdom for your profit (Pr 30:24-28). The ants protect against the danger of this proverb by always saving some of their income (Pr 30:25; 6:6-8). The feeble conies, or rabbits, protect themselves by making their homes in caves and holes of mountains. Be wise, and protect yourself.
What a book, this Proverbs! What a Bible! God by Solomon gave you short, pithy rules of wisdom to protect you in all parts of your life, including your income and job. But Solomon knew that time and chance by God had an even greater role (Eccl 9:11). He knew financial security depended on the Lord (Ps 127:1-2). Trusting God comes first.
Your financial or professional security should be a lesser and secondary concern of your life. Your greatest ambition should be godliness and contentment, which is great gain in its own right (I Tim 6:6-10). Your first priority should be the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt 6:33). You should show the fervent zeal in securing your heavenly position as the men of this world exert in securing their place on earth (Luke 16:1-13).
Some riches do last forever, and there is a crown that endures to all generations. The Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings and possessor of heaven and earth, will always own and rule the universe. His riches, crown, and kingdom will endure forever. And the riches and crowns He will give His elect children will also endure forever. Glory! Have you laid hold of eternal life with all your heart and might (I Tim 6:6-19)? It is the true riches!