What does the bible say about pursuing wealth?
For the poorest of paupers, she flaunts,
always the unreachable dream.
For the wealthiest of kings, she dances,
ruling his heart through cunning means.
Many long to touch her, to hold her,
and some have accomplished the task.
Her embrace is intoxication,
and in her essence, they long to bask.
Her existence causes war and ruin,
For the covetous heart will not abstain.
Their undying devotion she has won,
her praises fall from their lips like rain.
As whispered promises fill their thoughts,
Her provocative beauty captures their sight.
today, she fulfils the unquenchable desire,
Tomorrow, without warning, she takes flight.
By Summer Marrero Cordón
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
I Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV)
Having grown up at and, at times, below the poverty line I often experienced throughout my youth the desire to be wealthy. I remember being made fun of in elementary school for wearing off-brand shoes purchased at the local discount store. I have to admit, it stung. My mother’s focus was making sure her children had what they needed, so pursuing wealth was not on her to-do list.
It was probably at that moment that I felt like I didn’t measure up to everyone else because I was poor. Perhaps subconsciously I believed there was a great cavern between my worth and the worth of those who could afford to have name-brand clothes and shoes. Was there something wrong with me? My family? Was it really so important to wear name-brand clothes and pursue wealth at all costs?
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Little did I know, I wasn’t alone. I’m certain that many can identify with my upbringing. You may even be nodding your head as you read. We live in such a materialistic world, where the goal is often to pursue wealth and obtain social status.
It’s Better to be Financially Responsible than to Pursue Wealth
Money. Just the thought of it can conjure up all kinds of emotions and desires. I wrote the poem, Obsession, about ten years ago as I was pondering its allure and influence. We have given it more power than it’s worth and, unless we’re careful, we can easily lose control of our capacity to make healthy decisions.
I often tell the story of when I was given approval for my first credit card. I was barely twenty-years-old and it was a student credit card that banks would give out with very low credit – but very high APR. To me, it was free money! No one explained to me how to use a credit card wisely.
Within a matter of months, I was in debt. And, because I opted to pay only the minimum balance required, it took me years to pay off the card.
I became a slave to that debt, you see. And, again, I’m sure I’m not the only one!
The point of this article isn’t to tell you how to make a budget or how to spend your income. My aim is to simply help us to reflect on the importance we place on something that is merely meant to be a tool.
Whether you’re a Christian who lives paycheck to paycheck, the owner of a business or among the top one percent in the world, we are all called to live wisely – not foolishly. We’re called to love God above all things.
All the possessions we currently have are borrowed. We are stewards – not owners. God owns all things. Once we change our mindset something in our hearts begins to shift.
We may possess money but money should never possess us.
Pursuing Wealth Will Never Satisfy You
Solomon was arguably both the richest and wisest man to have ever lived. In his old age, he wrote the book, Ecclesiastes, which is filled with reflections about what he came to learn was of little value and what was most important. He wrote these words: “He who loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This, too, is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV
Now, God blessed Solomon with riches and great wisdom, but that blessing didn’t come with a guarantee that Solomon would always make the right choices. In fact, he messed up quite a lot. He often placed too much value and importance on his wealth and, in the end, Solomon recognized that the thing of most value was God Himself.
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have. because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.'” Hebrews 13:5 NIV
Another great teacher, the Apostle Paul, wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12 NIV
He warns the believers about the dangers of loving money: “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” 6:10b-11 NIV
The desire to be wealthy for personal gain is not godly. The pursuit of material possessions is idolatry and is contrary to God’s will for the believer’s life. In the end, it brings misery, which is not what the Father wants for us. His will is for us to be completely satisfied in Him.
“Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NIV
Learn Contentment Instead of Pursuing Wealth
I have often dreamed of having a large house filled with lovely furniture, a stylish wardrobe and a late-model car. I have kept the Holy Spirit busy because he is constantly reminding me to have an attitude of contentment. My mind should be set on “things above, and not on earthly things”.
If we hold loosely to what we have, it will hurt less when it is taken away. For it was never ours, to begin with. God gives us things to use them for His glory, to teach us good management and to be generous toward others.
Every material thing on this earth will perish one day. If we have a kingdom mindset and seek God before anything else then we’ll be the most satisfied of all people.
Let’s not allow the world to tell us what we need or to dictate what is of more value. If God gives you wealth as a result of your hard, honest work – give him praise! And use it wisely. Don’t seek a lavish life which only draws attention to yourself. Instead, live modestly and invest in the things that will further God’s kingdom.
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