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June 4, 1990

Too Rich to Sleep

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The sleep of a laborer is sweet . . . but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep. ECCLESIASTES 5:12
The wealthy have it tough! Not only do they have to wrestle with whether they love money, but they also must deal with two other inevitabilities of having significant amounts of money. The first issue Solomon mentions is so true it almost makes us want to laugh. The more we have, the more people there are around to consume what we have. Or, as Solomon puts it: “As goods increase, so do those who consume them” (Ecclesiastes 5:11).
Money invites its own infrastructure of people who follow that money: accountants, lawyers, the IRS, landscapers, decorators, brokers. In a sense, Solomon confirms the adage that it is more difficult to keep money than it is to make it.
That isn’t the worst of it. Even more distressing is that the more money we have, the less sleep we get. Such late-night musings as, What happens if the stock market goes through a correction? or Will the hurricane sweep away our place on the beach? replace what used to be slumber. Ironically, the folks who surround us because of our wealth sleep just fine, but we are left awake.
When God gives wealth, it brings unique challenges that are only appreciated by those who have it. Money by itself is not bad, but neither is it a panacea. It requires every bit as much attention to its proper stewardship as it required in earning it.
Although Solomon doesn’t say so, perhaps one of the best ways to alleviate the stress caused by having money is to give it away. Maybe then some of the people who surround us to spend it would go away, and perhaps we could finally get some sleep!

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