A while back, my wife and I visited a restaurant and later filled out a survey about our experience there. In completing the questionnaire, we were automatically entered in a contest with a monetary reward. To our surprise, we were notified we had won and weeks later received a check in the mail. It was not for a huge amount, but we put the unanticipated money to good use.
This prompted me to wonder what it would take to truly feel rich. What if you won a huge prize in the lottery? Or if you discovered you were an heir to a wealthy relative, and that person had left you a large inheritance? Or if someone unexpectedly showed up at your door and announced you had won a major sweepstakes? Would any of those make you feel rich?
Many people believe that if somehow they were to come into a huge amount of money, they would become truly rich and all their problems would suddenly be resolved. But would they? We can all recall news accounts about famous, extremely wealthy people who have experienced great difficulties in life despite their riches. Some of the wealthiest nations in the world are beset by great societal problems, despite their affluence. It seems that money is not necessarily the cure-all for serious struggles.
Someone has said if given a choice between having money or not having money, they would definitely opt for having money. I think we all would agree. But is money, property, or a hefty investment portfolio the source of true riches - or is it something else? And how can we succeed in acquiring these riches? The Bible offers some observations:
Material wealth - as well as the lack of it - can be stumbling blocks. In terms of money and material possessions, we may struggle with not having what we need. But having too much can also create problems: "...give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God" (Proverbs 30:8-9).
In the pursuit of tangible wealth, there never is "enough." There is something about wealth that fails to convince us that we have enough of it - even the richest people will tell you there is always room for "just a little bit more." "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless" (Ecclesiastes 5:10). "The leech as two daughters. 'Give! Give!' they cry" (Proverbs 30:15).
Knowing and acting upon the truth is a path to true wealth. Embracing the truth God provides in the Scriptures can enrich more than anything the physical world can offer. "I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches" (Psalm 119:14).
Our use of material resources can be a test. Perhaps our attitude toward wealth and how we use what we have can serve as a strong indicator of our character, as well as our reliability as stewards of what has been entrusted to our care. "So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?" (Luke 16:11).
© 2016. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Bob has written Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today's Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.