Proverbs 23:4-5 Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.On top of the fact that it might be gone regardless of your diligence, the desire to get rich can destroy our souls. Paul pulls no punches on this very real fear, particularly in our culture that loves money and materialism.
1 Timothy 6:6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.Wealth can only offer so much, and it isn’t as much as we often think (see Prov. 18.11). More importantly, it can easily play the idol in our lives, dulling our hunger for God. You may think I mean those who are driven to accumulate more and more, seeking satisfaction in material things rather than God. You’re right. But I also mean more than that, or maybe less than that.
There’s another, more subtle idolatry with wealth. Trusting it more than God to be your security. Ps. 20.7 says some trust in chariots, some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. In our world, some trust in their IRA, some trust in bank accounts, but do we trust in the name of the Lord our God?
Now we all want financial security, don’t we? There are passages about planning to take care of your family in Proverbs, but we need to be careful. Are you placing your trust in a who, or a what? God or money?
Wealth is nice. It is a blessing to the righteous, a curse to the wicked (and through the wicked), but it has its place. Proverbs speaks of wealth highly, but of other things more highly. A good capper to this point is Proverbs 15.16.
Proverbs 15:16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.
So who are you trusting? Next we’ll get to how we can start actually putting wealth in its place.