Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. (Proverbs 8:10, 11)
My father often used to say to me, “Money does not grow on trees, you know!” It sounded reasonable at the time; but now I’m not so sure.
The Preacher has said we should choose his instruction over silver and gold and rubies. I suppose whenever we buy a book or pay for a course we are more or less doing just that; ‘more or less’ because not all books or all courses would be in the ‘wisdom’ category.
If it comes to a choice between wealth and wisdom, the Preacher says it’s a no brainer; we must choose wisdom.
Now he is making the reason for that clear (Proverbs 8:17-21): Wealth – silver, gold, rubies and other such treasure – is the fruit of wisdom. In other words, if we make worldly wealth our goal, there is no guarantee we will get it; but if we stake our life on finding wisdom we will succeed at finding it, and get wealth thrown in!
By going after money we are pursuing the fruit without nurturing the ‘tree’ that produces the money; that tree is the wisdom the Preacher is talking about.
This whole scenario is very much the way some Christians and churches set up for evangelism; they go after the fruit – converts – without bothering to nurture the plant – their local church – that produces and matures the fruit.