A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
It is probable that ‘get rich quick’ schemes have been around since time immemorial. You may ask how they operated in Solomon’s day without a postal service, email, or Internet; but imagine a group of shepherds sitting around the fire one night talking about how poorly they are paid, with no overtime for the night shift, and no possibility of ever matching their employer in terms of wealth. One of them then says, “I met this fellow the other night in The Bethlehem Arms and he told me about a scheme involving something called soap. If we all invest one-quarter of our weekly wages for the next six months, which is only a little bit more than we spend on beer, he will supply us with the ingredients and secret recipe to manufacture soap. Then all we need is a market stall in Jerusalem and voila, we’ll make a fortune and never need to sit out here minding smelly sheep all night again.”
“Soap?!” replies one shepherd, “what is soap, and what do you do with it?” When Getrichqwikamiah replies “you use it to wash your body” the other shepherds all fall around laughing. “Who ever heard of anyone in Jerusalem washing?” shouts one, barely able to get the words out because he is laughing so much.
Solomon wasn’t just talking about people wanting to get rich quick, but about the condition of their hearts when wanting to be wealthy begins to rule their thoughts to the extent that it becomes an obsession. Jesus had opinions on wealth and those who let it dominate their lives. When a cheating tax collector came into contact with Jesus he ended up giving away most of his wealth. But another man with great wealth chose not to surrender his riches, and walked away from Jesus. I love the parable about the barn building landowner and how Jesus summarizes this teaching:
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21 NIV)
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