A popular syndicated television and radio personality once related a conversation that he had with a well-known billionaire philanthropist. As they walked over the expansive estate of the wealthy man, the interviewer asked a profound question: “How much is enough?” This person of great wealth made the point that if one does not know “how much” they want to earn or accomplish, then they should know that they can never have “enough.”
The quest for wealth can be a cruel and demanding master. Certainly, as human beings with physical needs, we must engage in gainful employment. Yet the emphasis that gets placed on earning money and accumulating wealth has a lot to do with people’s sense of contentment and fulfillment. Our Heavenly Father recognizes this, and the Bible contains His instruction on the subject. For example, King Solomon of Israel, who was blessed with incredible wealth, wrote, “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!” (Proverbs 23:4). He further added, “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20).
Obviously, acquiring wealth honestly and diligently is not wrong, but our attitude toward it can be a problem. Often, we tend to evaluate people based on their physical trappings, such as their houses, cars, and clothing. Jesus Christ clearly warned against a judgmental attitude. “And He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’” (Luke 12:15).
In explaining to His followers that our Heavenly Father knows what we need and does provide for us, Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). Continuing in verse 24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Finally, He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). So, it is a matter of priorities. We must put loving God and our fellow man before our pursuit of wealth if we are to please God.
The classic instruction on the subject was from the Apostle Paul to Timothy. “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:8–10). (It is of great importance to note that Paul describes greed as one powerful source of evil deeds and attitudes and that he does not call money the cause of “all evil,” as many have mistakenly misread and misquoted.)
Finding balance is the key if we are to have happy fulfilled lives. The Apostle John understood this when he wrote, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2). An important part of finding the balance in such matters is to remember the source of our blessings. One way to do that is found in Proverbs 3:9, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase.”
Wise King Solomon concluded the Book of Ecclesiastes with this profound statement: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, King James Version).
How much is enough? You will have to determine that for yourself, and it will be different for each person. However, if you are seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, it will come into sharp focus and help you find the balance in your life that can be notoriously elusive.
The booklet The Ten Commandments, which is entirely free of any charge, will be an excellent guide as you pursue your goals. Also, be sure to read the informative Tomorrow’s World magazine article “The Seven Laws of Success” today!