Financial lessons from Solomon

The Bible says that Solomon was the richest man who ever lived and also the wisest ever to live (1 Kings 4:31). I think that makes him qualified to give some financial advice.

I know there is some debate over whether or not Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, so just in case he didn’t we can use the alternate title of: ‘Financial Lessons from someone wise.;)

Money does not satisfy

  • He who loves money with not be satisfied with money… -Ecclesiastes 5:10

Loving money is a dangerous thing. Some people spend their entire lives chasing more and more money thinking that it will bring them satisfaction, only to never actually attain the satisfaction they were searching for.

True satisfaction only comes from God. It doesn’t come from getting married, a bigger house, a Mil in the bank, or being retired. What is interesting is that when we take our focus off of getting more money and more things, then they seem to start appearing. I guess this is what was meant by the verse in Matthew,

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Diversify your investments

  • Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. -Ecclesiastes 11:2

I get two things out of this verse. First, that Solomon lays out the groundwork for diversification. I like the balance of having 7-8 “eggs in the basket,” rather than just one that would leave us with nothing if it turned out bad. But also, not 200 miniscule eggs that are worth next to nothing individually. In this case, if any one investment performed very well, it would make very little impact on the portfolio as a whole.  On the other hand, if you had seven investments and any one of them performed well, it would have a decent impact on the portfolio as a whole.

There is never a perfect time

  • He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. -Ecclesiastes 11:4

I think the reason that some of us wait for the perfect time to do something is because we are trying to wait until there is no risk. It is human nature, we want to eliminate any and all risk of bad things happening. No matter how much we try, we can NEVER eliminate all risk. Any time we step out into anything there will be some level of risk, but that is not an excuse not to take action.

If it is stepping out into a new job, taking the first step to get out of debt, quit a bad habit, or anything else – there will always be an excuse not to take action. Step out and be one of those people who realizes that the perfect time is now.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

  • If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength… -Ecclesiastes 10:10

Steven Covey calls this his 7th Habit of Highly Effective People. He calls it “Sharpening the Saw.” Sometimes the most effective thing we can do is to rest. Though, it seems counter-intuitive, it really isn’t. Resting, allows for more production on your productive hours. People who live by this principle realize that often 6 hours can be more productive when accompanied with rest than 10 without.

This was another lesson that I learned the hard way while in school. I would frequently spend 4 hours on homework, when I am sure I could have done it easily in 2 hours. I was living in a sleep-deprived zombie-like state because I, “had better things to do with my time than sleep.”  But because my brain was functioning well below its capability, it took me a lot longer to finish my assignments.

My best success with this has been by regularly asking myself am I working hard or working smart. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but if you are only focusing on working hard, without actually thinking about if it is the smartest method, then you could be wasting your time with a dull axe.

Any other financial lessons from Solomon that I missed?

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17 Comments
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  1. I liked this article! Just wanted to say that Ecclesiastes 2 is my favorite part of the whole Bible – I think it speaks to the modern condition better than anything else in the whole book. At least, it spoke to me.

  2. Wise advice that has stood the test of time. Who could ask for anything more! Great post!

  3. @Trent
    Ecclesiastes chapter 2 is a great one… I have always been a huge fan of proverbs and just recently have had a newfound affection for Ecclesiastes

    @Bob
    It really does stand the test of time… Men have great ideas, but God’s thoughts will always be higher than ours…

  4. Great post, great advice! The same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    Best Wishes,
    D4L

  5. Super post Bob, it never ceases to amaze me how relavent the Bible is in out lives. Praise be to God.

  6. Jeannie

    You cannot imagine how much these lessons have helped me. Thank you so much. I will read and hopefully utilize everything you post!! God bless you for your financial insight!

  7. I appreciated the comment about working smarter and not harder. I will need to apply this in my life. The principle of diversification is a good principle to follow and I have tried to apply that with my own investments.

  8. Indeed, biblical principles are eternal and they have a way of always working if followed diligently. Particularly, the concept of diversifying investments is a very important key to financial independence, plus, as regards taking risks, as the saying goes…”no risk, no reward.”
    Thank you sir

  9. Great article. Thanks a million!

    However, please consider the fact that Solomon was the wisest man who had ever lived – only up to the point in time when God conceived Himself in the flesh by the power of His Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary.

    Since all wisdom comes from God. It is impossible for anyone to be wiser than God.

    Jesus Christ is “The Word that became flesh and dwelt amongst us” (John 1:14). God in the form of a man.

    Therefore, Jesus Christ (God’s Word, God’s only Son, God Himself – in the flesh) has to be the wisest man who ever lived.

    When compared to pure unfiltered wisdom of our Lord and Savior. Solomon is a far-distant second – lacking in every way possible.

    Solomon is the wisest man (born of a man and woman) who ever lived.

    Amen?

    Thanks again for the otherwise great article!

  10. Nchise Delphine Nchang

    Great post Bob, you are blessed.

  11. I am working on diversifying and finding daily blessings more enjoyable than the lump-sum of money that will resolve all of my financial concerns. From childhood, I looked for the future to be better than my present. Being content in whatever situation I find myself in is a wonderful state of mind.

  12. joy akerele

    The wisest indeed what a great lesson, to God be the glory

  13. Bob thanks for this post and all the 15 lessons on Bible Money Essentials. They have been inspiring and filled with Godly wisdom. I will be referring to them along my journey towards freedom from debt, for encouragement, motivation and wisdom. I am sure that as I remain prayerful, the Holy Spirit will use these bibical lessons to help me remain focused and grounded.

    God Bless,

    Anna

  14. I am also amazed that the more rest I get the more work I get done. Seems weird, but that’s how it happens. And I don’t mean over-resting, being lazy, etc. But just getting the rest I need. I am also able to get everything done in about half the amount of time because my brain is laser-sharp focused so I can bust it out :)

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