Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle. (Prov 23: 4-5)
While it used to be a common saying, that someone was trying to “keep up with the Jones,” we have as a society moved beyond that. Now we want to be the Jones. Or better still the Kardashians. Even our public leaders at the highest levels speak of their accomplishments, and focus on their poll numbers.
Wealth and fame have become ends in themselves, and having enough just isn’t enough. The problem with such an approach is that it is self perpetuating. The insatiable desire for more leaves us discontented.
The Proverb warns about this lust for material gain and fame. It cautions against trusting in our own cunning, and implies God’s disapproval of claiming that His gifts of talent are our own accomplishment.
If the Covid crisis has shown nothing else, it shows how illusory worldly security is. A microscopic organism can bring down economies, much less individual savings, or even whole portfolios.
Let’s then seek joy and contentment in the things that are more enduring. Let us be thankful for our families, friends, and communities. Let us be grateful for food in our bellies, roofs over our heads, and fresh air and clean water. But let us also acknowledge the One who has bestowed these upon us. And once we recognise these as gifts, let us share them with those who lack them. Riches may well “sprout wings” and fly away. But let us not hold them captive like a caged bird whose incarceration leads to death. Rather, let them fly free to thrive and bless others.
All that glitters is not gold
There are things more valuable we are told
Virtue and honour,
Good deeds and kindnesses to unfold
Are the real riches manifold
To be apace with Kim and Caitlyn do not seek
Especially if in doing so you trod on the weak
But follow a path loving, seeking just enough
Remember God when followed,
Will provide the other stuff (Matt 6:33)