The Money Trap
“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?" Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
I wonder if Solomon looked in the mirror as he wrote these words. After all, he was the richest man in the world. Did he never have enough? Does anyone ever have enough? Come to think of it, how much is enough? Those who live for money will be perpetually unsatisfied no matter how much they make. It’s like the story of the man who asked the millionaire, “When are you going to stop working and start taking it easy?” “When I make enough money.” “How much is enough?” “Just one more dollar.” Money has a way of doing that to you. It’s a narcotic–the more you have, the more you want.
But that’s only part of the problem. As verse 11 points out, the rich person amasses a great fortune only to see others consume his wealth. Nobody keeps his money forever. Even the man who corners the market in pork bellies will eventually have to sell them or see them rot in the warehouse. And as for admiring your wealth, how many cars do you really need? Or how many shoes can you wear? You can only eat one meal at a time. You can only drive one car at a time. The rest is just for show.
Have you ever read the little book of Haggai? It’s all about what happens when God’s people decide that money is more important than God. The prophet uses a picturesque phrase—“you earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it” (Haggai 1:6). This is the Law of the Unproductive Harvest. It happens to us over and over until we learn that God will not be mocked. Why would God do this? He allows us to suffer the results of our wrong choices in order to get our attention, to convict us of sin, and to lead us to repentance. God knows how to ring your phone. He knows where you live and he knows how to reach your private line any time he wants. Joyce Baldwin speaks of the “moral paralysis” that keeps us from obeying God. Because we know what God wants us to do and because we don’t want to do it, our lives are stuck in a kind of permanent spiritual neutral—we can’t go forward or backward. We just stay where we are—miserable and unfulfilled. That won’t change until we finally admit that God matters more than money.
God of every blessing, do whatever it takes to free me from loving money more than I love you. Amen.