While Solomon gives us a number of warnings against behavior that can lead to poverty, he does not imply that poverty is always a disgrace. Poverty is only disgraceful when it is the fruit of wrong conduct. There are any number of causes of poverty, some shameful, some honorable. “When adorned with godly integrity, it is most honorable,” Bridges wrote. “Better is the poor man, than he whom riches lift up in his own eyes, and he is given up to his perverseness and folly. Often man puts under his feet those whom God lays in His bosom. [Man] honors the perverse for their riches, and despises the poor for their poverty. ‘But what hath the rich, if he hath not God? And what is a poor man, if he hath God?’ Better to be in a wilderness with God, than in Canaan without Him.”
How many in the church are seduced by Canaan? Too often the church does not treat the poor and the rich as equals among God’s people. As a sad testimony to our worldliness, we often offer the seat of honor to the rich (or the talented), regardless of their character, and shun the simple—the very ones Christ freely embraced.