Numerous individuals would contend that King Solomon was the richest man to ever live, exhibiting staggering wealth. As one commentator put it, “Solomon made Bill Gates look like a second-class citizen.”
Solomon’s philosophical writings in the book of Ecclesiastes offer fascinating perspectives on money, particularly when you consider how much wealth he had.
Will the fruits of your labor be left to a wise man or fool?
First, he reflects on the day he will have to leave all the fruit of his labor to someone else, asking: “Who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?” (Ecclesiastes 2:19)
Solomon laments the notion that eventually someone else will have total control over the wealth that resulted from his own labor and toil. This thought left him in great despair.
By Luca Giordano – Web Gallery of Art – King Solomon
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An interesting article was published in the June 17, 2015 edition of Time magazine titled, “70% of Rich Families Lose Their Wealth by the Second Generation.” The article highlights how poorly prepared the second generation is at handling the wealth that is passed down to it. As one financial consultant put it, “Most of them have no clue as to the value of money . . .” The article also points out that the third generation is usually financially doomed.
Knowing this, you can see why Solomon found the thought of leaving his hard-earned estate to someone who would squander it to be so depressing. Which leads to Solomon’s second perspective on money: “Whoever loves money never has money enough” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
This seems to be a natural part of the human condition. There is never enough; we always want more.
More, more, more
Ron Blue is a Christian financial consultant and has supported a missionary organization in Africa that works with people living in abject poverty. One year, Blue visited one of the missionaries to observe his work, asking the question, “What is the greatest barrier among these people that keeps you from reaching others with the gospel? Without hesitation, the missionary responded, “Materialism.”
Blue was dumbfounded, as all he could see was extreme impoverishment. “How can that be?” Blue asked.
The missionary replied,
“If a man has a manure hut, he wants a mud hut. If he has a mud hut, he wants a stone hut. If his hut has a thatched roof, he wants a tin roof. If he has one cow, he wants two cows. If he has one wife, he wants two wives, and so on and so on.”
Blue recognized, as did Solomon, that materialism is not about things. It is about the heart and the insatiable desire for more.
Solomon made a third observation about wealth, stating, “Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.” In other words, the fruit of our labor does not satisfy us. It does not fill the emptiness of life.
What can money and wealth bring?
A perfect example that proves this theory involves studies that have been conducted on people who win lotteries. The winners always experience a huge surge of euphoria when they learn of their winnings. However, in almost every situation, within six months, those same people return to the same level of satisfaction they experienced before the lottery win.
I am sure you may be thinking you would be an exception to the rule, but consider this:
Money and wealth cannot purchase a:
- Good marriage
- Meaningful family life
- Peace and contentment in your soul
Finally, it cannot purchase the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life.
The bottom line is this – money and wealth cannot purchase the true riches of life.