Wise vs. Wild Contrast #14: Possessions
How she handles her money and resources
Girl-Gone-Wild: “I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” Proverbs 7:16-17
Girl-Gone-Wise: “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy… she makes bed coverings for herself…”. Proverbs 31:20-22
“‘Smart Girls Get More” is a wildly successful ad campaign that promotes the United Kingdom’s best-selling young women’s magazine, “More.” The message shouts from billboards, buses, TV commercials, radio spots, sponsorships, and competitions. It inundates British women with the idea that if they are smart, they will get more-more men, more sex, more celebrity gossip, more beauty, more fashion, more products, and, of course, more of the magazine that supplies all the latest and greatest information on these pleasures. “Cuz Smart Girls Get More!”
Although that particular ad campaign hasn’t run in North America, it’s the clandestine message of virtually all mass marketing efforts. Merchandisers want to convince us that we need more of whatever it is they are selling. The Bible’s perspective differs from the world’s. Constantly buying more stuff isn’t a trait of a woman who’s smart, it’s a hallmark of a Girl-Gone-Wild. The Wild Thing is an indulgent, voracious consumer who pursues pleasure through the purchase of material goods. A Girl-Gone-Wise thinks differently about the way she spends her money. She’s circumspect. She understands that everything she has comes from God. She tries to honor Him by being a good steward of all her resources. She treasures the riches of the Kingdom more than the riches of the world.
The fact that the woman in Proverbs 7 takes such care to detail the extravagant luxury of her possessions gives us a clue as to her attitude towards them. It’s clear she has an underlying attitude of self-importance and self-indulgence. She wants the young man to be impressed and to hold her in high regard. She wants him to admire her, and to charm him with all her finery. She wants him to affirm that she is really something. She’s like the harlot, Lady Babylon, who indulged in the “power of luxurious living” and in the “passion of sexual immorality”, and seduced nations to “drink her wine.” (Revelation 18:3)
The passage in Revelation informs us that Lady Babylon was a greedy consumer. She was a shopaholic who bought all sorts of exotic imported merchandise: “gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.” She was extremely fond of these “delicacies and splendors.” In her mind, they were status symbols-“must-have” items. The latest and greatest in Babylon’s More magazine was “the fruit for which [her] soul longed.” (18:12-14)
Nowadays, we’ve substituted designer jeans for purple cloth, satin sheets for fine linen, French perfume for frankincense, 5-star restaurants for cattle and sheep, BMWs for horses and chariots, nannies and housekeepers for slaves, but we’re just as greedy and self-indulgent. Like Lady Babylon and the Proverbs 7 woman, we’re caught up in the endless quest for more. We spend and spend, even if we don’t have the money.
A Girl-Gone-Wild is a voracious consumer. She treasures the things of this world more than she treasures Jesus Christ. She settles for fleeting pleasures that do not satisfy her deepest needs, and in the end, ultimately destroy her soul. The world tells us that smart girls get more. But Scripture says that if we’re truly smart, we won’t settle for the “more” the world can offer. We’ll want immeasurably more than its cheap, temporary thrills. The problem is not that we desire beautiful and precious things, but that we have a faulty perception about what is most beautiful and most precious. We settle for treasures that wear out, break down, and can be stolen, when we ought to set our hearts on riches that last forever.
The Bible teaches that what you do with money-or desire to do with it-can make or break your happiness forever. The Girl-Gone-Wild who makes material riches her goal in life has the wrong values. However wealthy she may appear, she is poverty-stricken in God’s sight. In His economy, the truly rich woman is the one whose main aim in life is to serve him as King. Her wealth lies in the currency of faith and good works, opening her hand to the poor, and reaching out her hands to the needy. She has a heavenly bank balance that no one can steal and nothing can erode. She lays up for herself treasures in heaven, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) The Girl-Gone-Wise knows that heavenly treasure is the kind that smart girls get more.
Â© Mary A. Kassian
This is a pre-publication excerpt from “Girls Gone Wise in a World gone Wild,” Â© Mary A. Kassian to be published by Moody Publishers in 2010. All rights reserved. You are welcome to link to this post, but please do not copy and/or reproduce this copyrighted material without express written permission of Moody Publishing.