If you were given a choice, would you live in a mansion or a shack? Imagine a sprawling mansion with dozens of rooms, marble columns, a grand spiral staircase at its entrance, and iron gates to guard its doors. The interior rivals anything you see on HGTV. The one room shack has no such appeal. Its windows let the cold in, and the floor is dirty and uncarpeted. The floors creak and the faucet drips. It is hard to imagine finding comfort inside the small box-shaped room.
Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Proverbs 16:19
Proverbs tells me that were I to choose the mansion, I would be utterly foolish. No, it is “better to be lowly in spirit with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud” (v. 19). It is highly unlikely that any of us today will be faced with that sort of decision, but we are faced with similar decisions of the heart on a regular basis. Will we be prideful and haughty, thinking of ourselves more highly than we should (Rom. 12:3)? Or will we recognize who we really are—frail humans utterly dependent upon God for our every need?
Verse 5 says, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Solomon (who was wealthy himself) was not saying that every wealthy person achieved their status through taking advantage of others or that every oppressed person is “lowly in spirit.” But these two contrasting images show the stark reality that God’s way and His plans for us are always best. It is better to be oppressed and humble than to be wealthy and proud. That is a difficult truth to believe, let alone live out, but that is exactly the life to which Christ calls us.
There are many times when we can choose humility . . . but do we? It is tempting to select the path that elevates us, brings us respect and reward. Ask God to give you a humble heart that is willing to serve outside of the spotlight.