Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle. ~ Proverbs 23:4-5
We all know the feeling: you work hard and put in long hours to earn that latest paycheck. You have plans you want to make, but first you have to take care of some bills, then you have to buy food, then you need gas for the car, then you child comes home sick and you have to take her to the doctor, then your car breaks down, then…then…then…
And suddenly that money is gone.
We save what we can but wonder if the interest rate is really worth it. We invest in stocks, one day its up and the next day its way down. The market is fickle and the cash in our wallets or bank accounts is fleeting. Then we wake up the next morning, go back to work and start the cycle again.
True, life does occasionally give us a break from this cycle. Sometimes this happens for certain people more than others it seems. Then come the occasions where we stretch that last dollar as thin as we can just to make ends meet until the next pay day.
This is why the Bible again and again warns us not to put our hope in money. The proverb above tells us how we should prioritize wealth: don’t make it an end, don’t let it become an idol.
Yes, we need money to survive—it’s the normal means through which God provides for food, clothes, and shelter, the basics of life. If we have more than we need and are able to save or able to buy that something special, then great. If not, then don’t work yourself to the bone trying to make more.
After all, money sprouts wings yet there are things that are more eternally significant.
This is why Jesus said, “Don’t lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). Later (in Matthew 22), Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. So what, then, is the eternal investment? Relationships.
Of all the temporary things we invest our lives in, God is the great Eternal One—the one who was, who is, and who is to come. Though we come into being at a point in time, unlike God we have a beginning, God has made us to never have an end. Death isn’t the end but a transition either in Christ to heaven and the coming new earth, or without Christ to hell. Either way we will always be.
We must learn to balance the time we devote to gaining wealth, realizing that it is fleeting and unstable. And in doing so, we must prioritize relationships. If your pursuit of money gets in the way of time with God, with church, with family, and with friends, and it gets in the way of being able to invest the gospel in those without Jesus, then you need to consider: Is this worth it? Weighed in the balance of eternity, the answer will be no. So change what you need to change, remembering that money will spout wings but our existence will be forever.
This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.