Got To Have It All

You may have read last week that the richest man in the world has slipped into second place. Another multi-billionaire has slipped past him in that uncertain race. These men are admired in our society, but at the same time vilified for their ruthless ways. It seems that so many people are living their lives as smaller versions of the super-wealthy, striving to grab as much as they can.

Nobody questions the desire to make improvements in our lives. Nobody wants to return to lives of poverty and hunger. It’s good to make progress. In fact, our country needs to prosper so that it can tackle the needs of its citizens and help the poor. But when materialism and wealth are on our minds, plenty can go wrong.

Scripture tells us of King Ahab who demanded the vineyard of his neighbour, a principled man named Naboth (1 Kings 21). When he refused, the king took the advice of his wife and had the man killed. Drastic measures just for a piece of real estate. The quest for wealth can lead us into covetousness and even violence. Life can become a dog-eat-dog existence where the prize goes to the one with the biggest bite.

Striving for wealth can make us blind to the needs of the less fortunate. Jesus spoke about an insanely rich man who spent his money on himself every day (Luke 16:19-31). He failed to notice the needy man sitting on his front steps. Just a piece of bread would have made so much difference, but it was never offered. You can read about the fate of this tycoon in the next life; it’s not pretty. Perhaps the super-rich today are so busy building empires they may fail to help the poor, or even treat their employees fairly.

And how can we forget the rich farmer of Luke 12:16-21? He worked so hard for riches, he decided to simply let prosperity flow in and enjoy it all. He forgot all about God, to thank Him for His blessings, to consult Him about his responsibilities, and that someday he would face Him and be judged. Should it surprise us that the super-rich rarely speak about God?

The apostle John said it well in 1 John 2:17. “And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”

A thought: If the richest man in the world only has money, is he really rich?