A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. – Psalms 37:16
Whether you are a Christian or not, you must have heard some feel good statements like – ‘Better to earn little money morally than to make a fortune cheating someone’. On surface it’s a good thought. Yes definitely we don’t want to rob a bank or make money through corruption. But here’s what is wrong with that kind of pitiful thinking. It subtly enforces a thought that someone who is ethically valued is always supposed to have less than a person who is always cheating and scamming.
Someone might say that’s what the Bible says in Psalms 37:16. No my dear friend, that’s not what the Bible says. It’s just what religion says. Religion exalts poverty. But Jesus said he came to give life and life in abundance (see John 10:10). Here’s Psalm 37:16 – “A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.” Forget all that religion has taught us over the years and carefully study the verse. Let’s read it again and I would like to emphasize some words that we need a better understanding of.
“A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.” – Psalms 37:16
We have to let the Bible interpret the Bible. First we need to know who a righteous man is. Righteousness is simply right standing (a peaceful relationship) with God. It doesn’t come by working hard, following rules or even fasting. Right standing with God is freely given to us as a gift. We simply receive that gift by faith in Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus the son of God who is sinless has paid the price for human failures and sins on the cross two millennia ago. He received our judgment and gave His righteousness to those who would believe in him. He received the punishment for our sins and we who believe in him receive the blessings for His ( Jesus’) righteousness and obedience. Yes that’s unfair. But that’s Love. (See John 3:16,17)
So righteous man in Psalms 37:16 is not referring to a person’s way of life but it’s actually referring to a person’s belief system that you are the righteousness of God in Christ (See 2 Corinthians 5:21) because of what Jesus did and God is not mad at you but God loves you and He wants to bless you. So here’s what Psalm 37:16 means. A little, let’s say ten dollars, in the hand of a righteous person is better (more in value) than a million dollars in the hand of someone who has not received the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ.
This my friend, is probably something you never heard of. But one might say, “How can this be? How can my 10 dollars be more valuable than someone else’s million dollars”. But that’s what the Bible says. The moment you accepted Jesus as your savior and Lord you changed your citizenship. You left the world and moved in the Kingdom of God. There’s no money involved in the kingdom. There’s only SEED. Everything you have in this world is now converted into SEED. Let’s consider what a seed is capable of. God has created every living thing in a way that its offspring is within itself. And same is the case with every plant and herb. There’s a saying that is so true – You can count the seeds in an apple but you cannot count the apples in a seed. If you take the seed and plant it in the ground and water it, somehow the seed which doesn’t look like much sprouts up and over time grows and yields fruit. One seed planted in the ground is capable of producing thousands and thousands of fruits every year. That’s the power of a seed. That’s the power of your ten dollars. A seed has the blessing of God on it to multiply.
This is what happened when Jesus fed several thousands of people with just a few pieces of bread and fish. (See Matthew 14:13-21 and Matthew 15:29-39) It was essentially a child’s lunch but when it was given to Jesus it was under a different jurisdiction – the Kingdom of God. And Jesus turned it into seed. He blessed it and broke it to distribute. As the disciples started distributing, the food multiplied. So much so that everyone was filled, 5000 men not counting women and children. They could have been as many as 15000 or more people. And there were 12 baskets left over.
There are so many instances in the bible that demonstrates this principle. There was a widow whose late husband had worked with Elisha the prophet. The widow approached Elisha in a very desperate situation. She told him how her husband has left a lot of debt behind when he died and as the custom of the day the creditors were about to seize her children and sell them into slavery as a repayment of the debt. Then the prophet asked her “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” ( see 2 Kings 4:1-7). She said she had some oil. Then Elisha asked her to borrow some vessels from her neighbors and commanded her to pour the oil into those vessels. She did accordingly and the oil multiplied as long as she filled up all the vessels she could get her hands on. When she had no more vessels she could borrow, the oil stopped multiplying. Now the prophet told her to go sell the oil so she could repay the debts and live off the rest of it. She not only received enough provision to repay her debt but she received a huge retirement savings as well.
Notice what happened in both the miracles of provision. The small pack of lunch never multiplied until it was turned into a seed. The small portion of oil never multiplied until it was turned into a seed. In both cases there was provision ready but to the natural mind that seemed like it won’t be enough to meet the need. But when the little things ($10 dollars so to speak) they had were turned into a seed and acted upon the word of God, the little increased in value (worth more than the riches of the wicked) and not only the great need was met but they had more than enough left over. So that’s what Psalm 37:16 means.
“A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.”
My friend, if you have a great need today. And what you have seems to be not enough to meet the need. Here’s my encouragement to you. Do not think of what you have as little but think of it as a seed. And remember a seed will remain a seed until its sown/given away to the ground. Only then it can bring forth the fruit. So bring what you have before God, it may be your little time, little money or little talent and then pray and ask for wisdom. And God will give you answers about what to do with your seed. You will just know it within you what to do. The Holy Spirit of God will give you the answer. This is why as a Christian (Righteous man) you have the advantage of having wisdom of God increase the value of your little things. Elisha through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit told the widow to pour out her little oil into many vessels. It may seem irrational and out of logic but that’s faith. She acted on the word and received her miracle. So can you.
God bless you.