There’s nothing wrong with having money and possessions. In fact, we can glorify God with these things and use them for good. But just as they can be used as something good, they can treated as a god, resulting in the worship of an idol. How does this happen? As we learned in our Bible study series Exchanged, idolatry occurs when money and possessions become ultimate desires—when we look to money and possessions for ultimate satisfaction, to solve all our problems, to give us peace, and to provide us with security. This is seen through greed, covetousness, discontentment, and selfishness. It’s the “love of money” which “is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).
All around us we see how people are searching for satisfaction, peace, and security in money. But it’s fool’s gold, myths that have been mistaken as truths. So, like the TV show Myth Busters, the myths about money need to be busted. And thankfully, the Bible busts them for us, showing that it’s unprofitable to follow the false god of money and possessions. Solomon provides some helpful wisdom for us in Ecclesiastes 5:10-20.
Myth #1: Wealth brings satisfaction
The Truth: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity” (v.10).
The more you have, the more you want. The more you have, the less you’re satisfied. It’s been said that money is like sea-water—the more a man drinks, the more thirsty he becomes. Only God can satisfy the human heart and the thirsty soul.
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
Myth #2: Wealth solves every problem
The Truth: “When goods increase, they increase who eat them. And what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?” (v.11)
The more you have, the more people come after it. The more you have, the more you realize it doesn’t meet your real needs. Jesus promises to provide all that we need to accomplish His will, and provides hope in the midst of problems. We may not always get what we want, but He will always provide for what we need.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Myth #3: Wealth brings peace of mind
The Truth: “Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep” (v.12).
The more you have, the more you have to worry about. Peace isn’t found in a present, product, or possession; it’s found in a person—Jesus. More junk, more problems. More Jesus, more peace.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Myth #4: Wealth provides security
The Truth: “There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger. 18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart” (vv.13-20).
The more you have, the more you can hurt yourself by holding on to it (v.13). The more you have, the more you have to lose (v.14). The more you have, the more you’ll leave behind (v.15). Wealth fluctuates and riches can be lost. The wealth and riches that are found in Christ are constant and will never change. Christ secured our eternal salvation on the cross. We can’t lose salvation because we never earned it in the first place; it’s the free, gracious gift of God.
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Let’s not reject money and possessions completely, having an unbalanced view of how to use our resources for God’s kingdom. But let’s not completely receive it and have no concern about tithing, giving, and being wise stewards. Let’s redeem money and possessions, showing the world that Jesus is our greatest treasure, and that He is more valuable than all of our valuables.