Last week I shared part of John Chrysostom’s sermon about the importance of bringing up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. During the course of his exhortation, he commented that Christian education isn’t about teaching children a skill that will make them lots of money, but is about teaching children the art of despising money. We hear the same wisdom in Proverbs, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven” (Prov. 23:4-5). So much for earthly riches.
Although Aesop was a Greek pagan, many of his Fables clearly illustrate the truths of life in this world. Here’s one that we as Christians might connect with Proverbs 13:8, “The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.” The Fable of the Fir Tree and the Bramble:
A Fir-tree was boasting to a Bramble, and said, somewhat contemptuously, “You poor creature, you are of no use whatever. Now, look at me: I am useful for all sorts of things, particularly when men build houses; they can’t do without me then.” But the Bramble replied, “Ah, that’s all very well: but you wait till they come with axes and saws to cut you down, and then you’ll wish you were a Bramble and not a Fir.”
Better poverty without care than riches with.
Image: The Fir Tree and the Bramble by Arthur Rackham