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January 3, 1994

Loving Money, Wanting More

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Whoever loves money never has money enough. ECCLESIASTES 5:10
We understand that wealth can be problematic—at least we know that to be true in theory. But it is very difficult to comprehend the downside to having money. Wealth puts on a great front. It encourages the new, delivers the big, allows for the comfortable, and arranges for the convenient.
Line ten people up and pose the following questions: Would you prefer to fly first-class or coach? Could you use extra cash to upgrade the furniture at your house or office? Do you wish you had more money to invest in your retirement account? It takes little intuition to predict what the probable answers would be. Wealth sets us apart from anyone with less and bestows on us a sense of respect, status, and power. It gives us options and flexibility.
But Solomon pokes his head behind the money curtain to look around backstage, and just as with any performance backdrop, things look a little rough. He contends that the more we love money, the more we want money. It serves up an appetite that grows but never goes away. It never feels like enough. The treadmill won’t stop.
Solomon ought to know. He was by far the wealthiest man alive, ruling over a kingdom in which silver was worth nothing because gold was so plentiful. In that very plentiful context, Solomon says, “Don’t love money.”
Money itself is not the problem. Neither is having money. Loving money, however, is the kind of appetite that, if indulged in, can end up eating us alive instead of providing us with satisfaction.
Solomon gives the strong impression that it is very difficult to have a lot of money and not end up loving it. Is that true with you?

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