Taking Flight

For Friday, July 6, 2007
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.

Is it wrong to desire to be wealthy? It is wrong if wealth is the objective for working. Work is good. Managing your money well so that your assets grow is good. You ought to aim for financial security. You ought to think ahead so as to provide for your retirement and not be a burden to others if possible. You ought to provide for your family.

But wealth itself should not be your object. Why? The reason given here is its transitory nature. Wealth can be lost and, indeed, is likely to be lost if you have single-mindedly worked towards it. It is one thing to become wealthy out of wise, thrifty handling of your money; it is another because you have figured out some get-rich scheme. It is one thing to become wealthy because of a devotion to the product you are producing or the service you are providing; it is another because you are only devoted to stuffing your own pockets. It is one thing to become wealthy because you have treated others fairly; it is another because you used people as means to your advantage.

The lust for wealth skewers our values. And if we are on the outside of the wealthy circle trying to get in, our tendency will be to take unethical means to get inside. Keep in perspective what really matters for happiness. It is not wealth. It is not being with the "in" crowd. It is in doing work that itself is fulfilling. It is in providing properly for your family. It is in honoring the Lord. This is where true, lasting happiness comes that does not fly off.