We have heard the story over and over, haven’t we? He or she had everything by the time they were in their 30s: wealth measured in millions of dollars, a thriving career, fame, magazine covers, toys like sports cars, a clothing line or music label. Money, by their own admission, was everything. Since their youth, their driving ambition was to win, and through winning, reap the rewards of the good life.
I read of a doctor recently who chose the quick way to big bucks – by switching from ophthalmology to plastic surgery. It paid handsomely. In the first year, his cosmetic enhancement clinic “was raking in millions.” But in March of last year he, a light smoker, was struck down by terminal lung cancer. And his attitude changed quickly.
He realized that wholeness and happiness didn’t come from enriching oneself. “I’m a typical product of today’s society,” said the doctor, in an excerpt taken from one of his speeches last November. “From my earliest memory, I’ve always been under the influence and impression that to be happy is to be successful. And to be successful is to be wealthy. So I led my life according to this motto.” Yet he died last fall at age 40.
If anyone thinks they can achieve success monetarily and that will solve all of their problems, they will be proven wrong. History records that Solomon, one the wealthiest men of all time, was not immune to despair over poor choices and a God-less existence. The worst part of this too-often-heard story is that it is unnecessary and preventable.
Read Luke 12:13-21.
The Bible is full of wisdom that should steer anyone away from believing that financial success alleviates life’s struggles and pains. The man in Luke 12 figured he had planned wisely. But he learned otherwise too late.
Each of us should set financial goals. Wasting money is no better (or holier) than hoarding it. But as you set goals, be aware that when you die, your financial planning will not benefit you anymore. If and when you have a family, you will want to provide for them financially. But after you die, your spiritual planning kicks in – assuming you prepared. What sort of eternal investments are you intentionally making now?
Security is more than a future planning issue – regardless of your stock portfolio. For some, a large bank account compensates for deficiencies they feel in other areas. Again, money cannot merely substitute for gaps in your spiritual life. This was at the root of the doctor’s sad and early demise – his love of money contributed to a short-lived life.
The Scriptures argue that only a relationship with the Living God can help someone deal with the ups and downs that life throws our way. A big bank account might seem like a great strategy to help avoid life’s pain, but it is only a mirage. And regardless of the fame and fortune you amass while living, you cannot take any of it with you when you die.
Everyone who chases riches will encounter this lesson, and some will wise up too late. Will you? Think theologically. Our security is not in our investments. It’s in God.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz