What is the lure of wealth? Money in and of itself is not bad. It can do many things which is evident through many philanthropic endeavors. I once met a man who became wealthy through currency trading. The money he earned helped fund Christian ministries that served people in need. Yet wealth can also have a bad side.
In Ecclesiastes 5:13, Solomon tells us in one verse why wealth can be a problem: “There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt (NASB).” A footnote in the NASB describes the word “hoarded” as literally “guarded.” It is a selfish motive to keep all that they acquire for their own benefit without giving thought to others. Ultimately, as verse 13 reminds us, it hurts the owner of the wealth.
Solomon reminds us in the next verse that wealth can be lost to the point that there is nothing left to even support children: “When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him (14).” It’s a key point that there is responsibility with having wealth. A question for those who have it is how are you being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are lacking the necessities of life?
The ability to earn money is a gift from God. He gives us the mind and physical strength to acquire resources that not only support yourself, but others. We have a responsibility to seek God’s guidance on how to best use the talents he has given us to advance his kingdom, not our own kingdom. We need to look for ways to show others the true riches of eternal life through Jesus. It is a matter of the heart to seek to be generous to others.
“As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand – Ecclesiastes 5:15 (NASB).”
Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:18