In reading of some Australian billionaires I was reminded of the aforementioned Proverb. The Bible is true to life and unsurprisingly it sets out the challenges/ dangers of wealth for our learning.
At times I am tempted to say, “Lord, challenge me with wealth!” But upon reflection there are challenges that the Lord knows I am not up to!
There are sound reasons for being wary of the challenges of riches:
The motivation of the rich has long been a topic of interest to psychologists. Dr Paul Wachtel, a professor of psychology at the City College of New York, published a landmark paper a decade ago called ”Full Pockets, Empty Lives”, in the American Journal of Psychoanalysis.
His research found one of the great pitfalls of the wealthy is a compulsion to continue to accumulate even more. ”The pursuit of money and material goods as a central aim in life comes at a rather high price,” he wrote, noting that money plays ”a strikingly small role” in a person’s real happiness or wellbeing.
In fact, intimacy and family life are often sacrificed. Envy feeds the greed impulse, argues Wachtel: ”We may want not just what others have but more than others have, or more for more’s sake.”
The super-rich are seen to take their wealth accumulation very personally, with their view of their self-worth apparently characterised through their achievements.
Stimulating article by Michael Evans with info on Australian billionaires, Billionaires’ winter of discontent and another article on wealth and behaviour, A whole lot of dollars, but no sense of restraint.
Jesus Christ shed light and wisdom on the perils of wealth leading us away from God and his purposes for the world. eg, The Parable of the Rich Fool, Luke 12:13-21
There is of course the danger of poverty, “Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God“. Proverbs 30: 9 Hence we are to pray and work collectively, “Our Father in heaven … give us today our daily bread“. Matthew 6: 5-14
Pray for our billionaires that the Holy Spirit would enlighten their hearts and minds to see the Lord of Life and their responsibility for wise stewardship of their personal lives, their business lives and their role in society.
See also, Universal Desire to Worship Someone.