It’s Better to Be Poor

It’s better to be poor
And have riches in the Lord
Than have vast earthly wealth
And let it ruin your health.

It’s better to eat soup
With your family and your friends
Than eat the finest steak
At the table of your foes.

It’s better to be patient,
For patience can bring peace,
Than always lose your temper
And make bad matters worse.

It’s better to speak softly
When anger fills the air
Than try to SHOUT your LOUDEST
When you wage a war with words.

About this Song:

The biblical book of Proverbs is chock full of King Solomon’s tidbits of wisdom. The four I’ve used for this song are the only ones I could find that fall into an “It’s better THIS than THAT” pattern, and I’ve searched Proverbs numerous times looking for more. If anyone reading this post can find another one, I’d be most grateful.

Proverbs 15:1

New International Version (NIV)
15 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Contemporary English Version (CEV)
15 A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.

Good News Translation (GNT)
15 A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.

Proverbs 15:16-18

New International Version (NIV)
16 Better a little with the fear of the Lord
    than great wealth with turmoil.
17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love
    than a fattened calf with hatred.
18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,
    but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Contemporary English Version (CEV)
16 It’s better to obey the Lord and have only a little,
    than to be very rich and terribly confused.
17 A simple meal with love is better than a feast where there is hatred.
18 Losing your temper causes a lot of trouble, but staying calm settles arguments.

Good News Translation (GNT)
16 Better to be poor and fear the Lord than to be rich and in trouble.
17 Better to eat vegetables with people you love than to eat the finest meat where there is hate.
18 Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.

I’m not sure what translation I based my wording on, but apparently not the three I quoted above. Isn’t it amazing how much difference exists among various translations of the Bible? Of course, some are transliterations rather than new translations–but those often help us get a special feel for the assumed intent of the biblical author.

Does this song bring to mind anything you’d like to share? If so, please leave a comment.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website,, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,

Links you might be interested in:

About Roger E. Bruner

Seventy-five-year-old Roger E. Bruner is the author and publisher of twenty Christian novels and the writer of more than two hundred Christian songs and choruses, a handful of musical dramas, and a number of shorter works. He sings, plays guitar and bass, and records his original songs in his home studio. He is active in his church's nursing home ministry He also plays bass guitar on the church raise team. Married for seventeen years to Kathleen, he has one grown daughter. Kathleen has two. Roger enjoys reading, moderate exercise, photography and book cover design (he's done all of his own except for Rosa No-Name), playing Snood, making walking sticks, and complaining about the state of the nation while continuing to pray for it.
This entry was posted in Anger, Patience, Poverty, Proverbs, Solomon, Wealth, Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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