Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 3:14
"For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold"
Solomon must shake us out of automatically internalizing a destructive goal for life: being rich. Without wisdom, it is not all it’s cracked up to be. There is nothing wrong with being rich if God gives you the ability, but one needs wisdom more than riches. From ancient times to modern times people tend to automatically embrace the idea that lots of money is the right goal for life and that money, wealth, and resources are the answer. It is not.
This is the Hebrew word sahar which means to gain from trade or merchandise; to turn around as in buying at one price and selling at another. The difference between those two prices is your profit. This is how businessmen have made their money for thousands of years. It is this profit that is the aim of most. They have internalized a goal of a pile of resources next to them that they can spend any way they want.
Solomon says that the pile of resources available to a person who has heaped up wisdom is so much greater than the one who has heaped up financial resources. Solomon sees this huge pile of wise choices as wise actions, connected relationships, goals, protection from temptations, restful nights, insights, information, skills, people skills, freedom from diseases, etc. This forms this huge mountain of wisdom that the person can draw on as they face the future. This means that there is nothing that comes their way that is overwhelming or inscrutable.
On the other hand, if a person just has a pile of money but no ability to see the triple-win choices and actions and all the other good things that come from wisdom, they will throw money at problems and follow their own impulsive path usually to some form of destruction.
profit of silver
What is the profit of silver? It is highly valuable. It appreciates. It has long-lasting value. It is transportable. It produces power for its possessors.
Solomon is trying to get us to realize that wisdom is so much more valuable than the value of money. It is amazing that 3,000 years ago money was considered the most valuable thing; and Solomon is trying to wake us up to the fact that even if you have money but you don't have wisdom, your life is not enjoyable.
Solomon is trying to get us to grasp that you get one with the other but not the other way around, and that we are all most tempted to go after the wrong one. If you aim at wisdom, you will most likely gain monetary wealth, so financial resources usually come with wisdom. But wealth does not guarantee wisdom. There are lots of wealthy fools who never really understand what is happening to them.
There are times when you must pass up the most profitable opportunities monetarily in order to pursue wisdom. Solomon is saying: Go after wisdom; you won't be sorry. Don't run after the quick profit or the higher profit necessarily. Set your sights on something higher – something that will allow fuller enjoyment of the wealth: wisdom. Make it your goal to be able to discern the win-win-win choice or action. If you can hone this skill, then you will truly be rich.