Gaining more money is a big part of our lives. Money reflects material value for physical labor and assigned worth. It is a necessary part of how we all interact. Some people have more than others. There are various reasons for this. But the main reason some have more wealth is that they have applied themselves to acquire and protect it. The Bible commands and encourages us to be good financial stewards, both in the acquisition of wealth, and in the spending of it.
There are certainly wrong ways to get rich, and bad ways to spend your money. I don’t want to talk about motives or methods regarding wealth-building. I want to focus on the amount of energy and effort spent gaining riches. We are told that getting rich is the goal… or at least a main goal. Usually we are told this by people who want us to be (or feel) rich because they want some of our money. Car companies want us to want that feeling of luxury. Jewelry ads sell us on luxury. In just one evening of watching your favorite TV shows, you will be told multiple times how much you need in order to feel happy. If you stay up late enough you can watch entire shows dedicated to helping you get rich… now.
The Bible reveals many of God’s thoughts about money and wealth. One command we find in the book of wise sayings is, “Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it. As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.” (Proverbs 23:4-5) Pursuing wealth is a wearying process. And if you’re like me, you find that riches are fleeting. No matter how much time, sweat, and energy you put toward creating wealth, for some reason you aren’t any wealthier after you get it than you were before you spent yourself to acquire it. But when you spend yourself on those things that matter most, you end up living a more fulfilled life.
There is an industry out there trying to get you to go after wealth… including the pursuit of someone else’s money. You weren’t created to be jealous of your neighbor’s status. God does not want you to be envious of the rich man’s money. These desires will not satisfy you. The rich man’s money will not buy you contentment. Let it go. Be happy for those with more than you. Do not follow the crowd that is pursuing material wealth. That journey does not lead home.
Riches are not bad, but they are like a vapor in the wind. We say “Time is money.” That isn’t true. But they are both elusive. At the end of your life, you probably won’t want a few extra minutes to make a few extra dollars. And a few extra dollars won’t buy you a few extra minutes. Today, apply your energy to being faithful with what God has given you. He will supply the increase in your life. And when He does, it will satisfy you. Don’t wear yourself our chasing the wind. Harness the wind to chase important things.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.