Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it (Proverbs 13:11, esv).
When you read Proverbs 13:11 you might wonder, Really, Solomon? “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle”? And Solomon might reply, “Yes, I’ve been watching. If you get money falsely or fast—it dwindles. Watch with me.”
This king wrote most of the book of Proverbs and, apart from Jesus, he had more insight into human behavior than any other person who ever walked this earth. Solomon wrote what he saw. Proverbs are not promises; they are descriptions of the way things normally are.
“God does not bless financial shortcuts. ‘Wealth gained hastily will dwindle.’ ”
Of the hundreds of verses in the Bible related to money, approximately 30 percent have nothing to do with how you spend, save, invest, or use it. Almost one-third of all biblical instruction about money ties to this single question: How did you get it?
God is incredibly interested in how you got what you have. If you cut a corner, distorted the truth, hid information to make a sale, or took something that wasn’t yours . . . if you dishonored others, cheated your employees, or took more than your rightful share—God sees and cares.
The word hastily is clarified in the nasb, “Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles”—as in “get-rich-quick” schemes. Solomon described what we often see with lottery winners today: the money slips through their fingers, dwindles, and is gone. Statistics show that many lottery winners and professional athletes are likely not only to lose their winnings or inflated earnings but also to go bankrupt over time.
We all dream of shortcuts to success. While we often equate success with good luck or raw, natural talent, the truth is it’s the result of hard work. Behind every runaway success story, from Bill Gates to the Beatles, we never see the immense amount of time those individuals spent developing and honing the skills that took them to the top.
No matter how desperately we want to believe we can find shortcuts to fast acquisition, it’s not realistic—nor is it honest. Instead, “whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” Gathering little by little seems hard and it is, but God rewards that honest approach. It’s amazing what saving $10 per month does if you start in your twenties, and how $100 per month will grow bit by bit.
If you cut corners thinking you’ll get a financial edge, yet wonder why you never seem to get to a better financial place, you’re nearing the answer. What you get dishonestly won’t stay. God sees! And He honors honesty.
If you have money you gained dishonestly, repent and make that right. Return it to whomever it belongs—whether it’s the government, a former employer, a repairman who forgot to bill you, etc. Get your books clean. Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, because God does not bless financial shortcuts.
Father, You are the great King over all the earth. Everything is Yours, and I am Yours. But I confess to You, God, I have not always acted in the best way, the right way. Grant me humility and courage to make things right. I choose honesty. I choose to pursue the gift of a clear conscience before You. I choose to return anything that’s not rightfully mine. Teach me to gather little by little and to do hard, honorable work. I anticipate by faith all You are yet to do. There is so much opportunity in front of me, in every hour left in this life, to honor You, serve You, and steward well for You. In the strong and steadfast name of Jesus I pray, amen.