It's Only Money
Beware! Guard against
every kind of greed. Life
is not measured by how
much you own (v.15).
Grigori Perelman won the Millennium Prize from
the Clay Mathematics Institute for solving a
problem that had stumped mathematicians for a
century. When told that the prize came with a $1 million
award, Grigori, a reclusive genius who lives with his
elderly mother in Russia, said that he would need to think
about whether to accept the money.
Grigori may be eccentric, but he’s not crazy. As many
lottery winners attest, sudden wealth can be devastating.
Even the slow and steady accumulation of wealth can
gradually tighten a noose around our lives. For the more
we have, the more time and money it takes to care for
it. Who is less burdened by possessions—a person who
lives in an apartment and rides a bicycle to work or a
homeowner with a manicured lawn and enough vehicles
to fill his 3-stall garage?
Wise and wealthy, Solomon observed that it’s foolish
to presume “that wealth brings true happiness! The more
you have, the more people come to help you spend it”
(Ecclesiastes 5:10-11). The more you have, the more you
have to work to keep what you have, but “We all come to
the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the
day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us,” and
so we realize that our “hard work is for nothing” (vv.15-16).
Jesus said that “life is not measured by how much
you own” (Luke 12:15), and Solomon adds that even
what you own can interfere with life. It sounds crazy,
but Grigori might actually be better off without the money. As long as his basic
needs are met, he certainly is no worse.
An opportunity to earn additional income can be a gift from God. But if you
simply can’t imagine turning down the money, it may end up merely adding to
your financial bondage. —Mike Wittmer
Read Psalm 49:16-20
and 1 Timothy 6:6-10,
17-19 to learn how God
wants us to think about
and use our wealth.
How much of your
energy is spent earning,
spending, and tracking
money? While this is
a necessary part of
stewardship, what can
you do to keep your
financial portfolio in