“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).
IF WE DO NOT KEEP A PROPER PERSPECTIVE ON OUR POSSESSIONS, THE TIME MAY COME WHEN THEY GIVE US MUCH GRIEF. However tempting it may be to set aside our spiritual priorities and go straight for the monetary rewards of “life under the sun,” we should resist that temptation. Shortcuts to destinations like “pleasure” and “fulfillment” often turn out to be disappointing, and that is certainly the case with material wealth. Possessions gained at the expense of higher values have an uncanny way of turning against their owners and breaking their hearts.
We probably don’t have as much control as we’d like over the process through which wealth is acquired. But there is something else we don’t have much control over, and that is the circumstances that will allow us to enjoy our wealth once we’ve acquired it. We all know of individuals who have managed to acquire a fortune and then, perhaps through some serious family problem or other unexpected tragedy, have found that they were not in a position to derive any pleasure from the fruits of their labor. It is naive to think we have enough control of our circumstances to keep the sweet taste of our possessions from turning bitter.
For this reason, Solomon spoke of the individual “to whom God has given riches and wealth,” and added that it was also God who had “given him the power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). Both the ability to gain wealth and the freedom to enjoy it are “the gift of God,” and we should never allow ourselves to forget that fact. Even if God allows us, in the short term, to disregard Him and still gain great wealth, it is well within His power to surround us with circumstances that turn our joy into sorrow. John Jewell said it bluntly: “What God does not bless will waste and consume you. It will do you no good.” But let us be careful on this sensitive issue: even if our possessions have been gained with God’s blessing, in no case whatsoever are we to allow them to displace our desire for God Himself. He is the one and only desire that will never disappoint us.
“It is a mistake to love things that will inevitably decay, and to be annoyed when they do” (Guigo I).