Read the entire chapter, but focus on Proverbs 23:1-8.
J. Nelson Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest men who ever lived. Once he was asked, “How much money is enough?” His response was, “One dollar more.” Like most people on this planet. Rockefeller was seduced into believing that money can buy happiness and hope. And like most who pursue riches as the ultimate end of life, Rockefeller never found true contentment.
We live in a materialistic society. “He who dies with the most toys win” the bumper sticker says. As a Christian, it is so easy to buy into the world’s philosophy that says that riches and things are what makes a person happy. So people will do just about anything to get rich. The game show Survivor has proven this fact. Ordinary people leave their homes, their jobs, and their families. They are taken to a wilderness somewhere and do things they would never do. They eat bugs, risk their lives, and spend time with people they don’t know and probably don’t like. And for what? To win a million dollars. They even know that only one of them will win, but the possibility that it might be “me” gets each person’s greed stirring.
There is nothing wrong with having money. The problem lies when a person, especially a Christian, makes the pursuit of riches the ultimate purpose for life. First of all, riches will always leave you empty when you see this as the ultimate thing in life. Recently one of the local news channels did a story on lottery winners from the past. The story focused on the winners of the largest jackpots. The interesting fact of the story was that most of these people were incredibly unhappy. Most of them had divorced, lost most of their friends, and many had spent all their money and were going bankrupt.
Second, the pursuit of riches can cause a person to miss God. What if God were to be calling you to go to distant land to serve Him. Would you miss that call because you were so interested in getting wealthy and having a big house?
Third, riches on earth will stay on earth, but treasures stored in heaven will last for eternity. A rich man died, and at the funeral home a number of people gathered to pay their last respects. One of his friends asked, “How much money did he leave behind.” The response from the family member, “All of it.” Jesus said it like this, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) Just remember, “He who dies with the most toys, still dies!”
This Proverb is a warning to be careful about pursuing riches, or trusting rich people. Pursue God first, and He will take care of the rest.