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Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man (or woman) healthy, wealthy and wise.” This famous 1700’s quote by Benjamin Franklin is still around today. However, like almost any statement, there are conditions and modifications to think about. If an insomniac goes to bed early and fails to sleep all night and gets up at dawn, that would not be conducive to good health. A night owl could still be healthy and wealthy. Many people have a job which requires an early start and they work hard day after day without ever becoming rich. Wisdom usually requires scholarly knowledge combined with experience and horse sense, not a perfect sleep schedule.

If a poll were taken of the general population about which of these three is the most desirable, I fear that wisdom would be last. Although health is extremely valuable and wealth allows folks lots more choices, there is a con-vincing Biblical case for wisdom. Some of the strongest (and presumably healthiest) humans to have ever lived made unwise decisions. Samson, a judge of Israel before there were Kings, killed 30 of the Philistine enemies at one time by the Spirit and power of the Lord. However, he foolishly listened to a woman named Delilah and lost his strength and his life (Jud 14:19) (Jud 16:18-21 & 30).

Perhaps the strongest, most healthy human who ever lived was named Goliath, a giant Philistine of over 9 feet tall. He taunted and mocked the army of Israel until a boy named David killed him with a sling and a stone to the forehead (1 Sam 17:40-51). David said, “…it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves: for the battle is the Lord’s…” (v 47). Goliath was fatally unwise to trust in his health and strength.

King Solomon was one of the richest persons who ever lived (Ecc 2:4-10) (1 Ki 4:26-28) (1 Ki 9:26-28) (1 Ki 14:27). But in spite of it all, he himself declared, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind…”

(Ecc 2:11). Jesus affirmed this by telling us, “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth… But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Mt 6:19-21). The Apostle Paul explains the value of this command, “Command them to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves …for the coming age… (1 Tim 6:18-19).

There are far too many scriptures that verify wisdom’s superiority over health and wealth, but just a few here to set us on an in-depth study are: “For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Pr 2:6). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (Ps 111:10). Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get wisdom. Though it costs you all that you have, get understanding.” (Pr 4:7). “for wisdom is more precious than rubies…” (Pr 8: 11)

-Jim Bailey

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