He who Loves

He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.

—Ecclesiastes 5:10

In his day, Solomon was kind of like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined, as far as riches were concerned. His wealth and kingdom were legendary, and the queen of Sheba even traveled to see his kingdom (2 Chron. 9:6). When another monarch of great wealth in her own right comes to see your kingdom, you’re rich! But interestingly, Solomon said, “It’s vanity.” An observation like this from a pauper wouldn’t carry much weight, but when the man who is the richest man in the world makes such a statement, you can take it to the bank (sorry, couldn’t resist)!

It is amazing, I think, how things we lived without even a decade ago have now become so important to us. For example, I could not imagine not having a cell phone. Leaving it at home accidentally is like being in a time warp back into the Stone Age. We also apply this same attitude to things we desire but do not yet have. We think, Life just won’t be the same for me if I don’t have _________, and then when we do get it, a newer and better one soon comes out and we’re right back where we were in the first place. Only seeking and serving the Lord will never leave us unsatisfied or empty.

To be sure, it is a battle to keep the desires of the flesh in check, especially when it comes to silver and increase, but those kinds of things will not satisfy; they only create an appetite for more. We have been given all things to enjoy, and life is meant to be rich and full, but we don’t have to be rich in order for life to be full. So if you are striving for silver at the expense of your family, remember that silver offers little consolation to your family when they reap the results of your physical absence or love of material abundance.

I cannot tell you how many men I have had to remind over the years that things can never replace their physical presence. I know kids want to keep up with the latest styles and trends, but not at the expense of parental absence. I have never heard a child say, “I wish my mom and dad were gone more. I wish they worked two jobs so we could live better.” But I have heard plenty say, “All my parents do is work, and they have no time for me.”

Riches and wealth are not evil; they are inanimate and inherently neither good nor evil. But the choices we make in order to obtain or maintain them are where regret and sorrow can creep in. Listen, friend, your eternal home has streets paved with gold, so don’t work too hard to obtain a substance that heaven uses for pavement. As Solomon says, this is vanity, and it is costly to your family as well. Parents, you are far more important to your children than a vacation home or the latest shoes. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. Solomon learned the true value of riches the hard way. You don’t have to!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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