Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them? Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
A bumper sticker in the ’80’s taught the not-so-great truth “He Who Dies With The Most Toys Wins.” The quote was originally attributed to flamboyant millionaire Malcolm Forbes. An episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled “The Most Toys” was aired on May 5, 1990, that captured the essence of that saying.
Malcolm Forbes' lavish lifestyle was exemplified by his private Capitalist Tool Boeing 727 trijet, ever-larger Highlander yachts, and his French Chateau (Château de Balleroy in Normandy) as well as his opulent birthday parties. Forbes’ insatiable appetite for material possession and pleasure was unrivaled in His lifetime. Yet he died in 1990 of a heart attack at age 70 leaving behind all his expensive toys.
The mantra for this consumeristic society reflects the sentiments of Forbes that “He who Dies with the Most Toys Wins.” Thus, people living moderate lifestyles are made to feel like failures or subpar achievers. But the Bible exhorts believers to live a life that is unencumbered by the love of money or enslaved to financial extremes.
Nothing on earth can fill the ‘God-sized vacuum’ in the human soul except a right relationship with God. Meaning and purpose cannot be found in material possessions. Solomon was one of the wealthiest human beings that ever lived, yet he discovered that “everything is utterly meaningless: (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
The one who dies with the most toys without a relationship with Jesus Christ is to be most pitied. Spending one’s lifetime trying to fill the God-sized vacuum in their soul is fool’s gold. The quality of one’s life is not necessarily based on the quantity of their possessions or their affluence. Indeed, poverty should not be celebrated as a virtue. Nor should scarcity be looked upon as a goal. Ultimately, we need to focus on contentment, even as we work diligently to leave an inheritance for our children. This is not an indictment on the accumulation of wealth. For it is the love of money that leads people astray and not necessarily the accumulation of wealth.
Capitalism originated from monks living simple lives in monasteries throughout Europe during the 14th Century and growing crops to barter in exchange for the things they need to sustain their simple lifestyle. It was never their intent to establish a system that would be used by the greedy to oppress the needy. These monks knew about the evil of the love of money and cherished their vow of poverty. Yet because of their discipline and diligence, their model was adopted to create a system that prioritizes the love of money and makes wealth accumulation one of its primary tenets.
In Proverbs 30:8-9, we read, “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.” Not too many people appreciate the profundity of this wise saying. I struggle with this verse quite a bit as I work diligently to leave a legacy of wealth for my children. But one thing I realize, the more money I make, the more money I covet to do greater things. Therefore, I pray fervently every day for God to keep me from the love of money and give me a spirit of contentment, so I do not disown God in my pursuit of wealth and riches.
Questions for Personal Reflection
How are you filling the God-sized Vacuum in your soul?
Why is the love of money so dangerous for the believer?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, I thank you for convicting me to live a life of contentment. When I am being led astray by the spirit of greed and the desire to consume more than I need, please remind me that only you can feel the God-sized Vacuum in my soul.