Making ONLY MONEY is NOT a GOOD INVESTMENT: "Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven." (Prov. 23:4-5)
The third section in the book of Proverbs opens with an appeal to the listener to heed the teachings of the wise (see 22:17). The repeated “do not” reminds us that there are some things God does not want His children to do. When we obey these instructions, it will result in us having a deeper trust in the Lord (22:19), and will instill in us a responsibility to share them with others as well (22:21).
The above verses selected for today’s meditation call for moderation in our work habits. Although there are many proverbs that discourage us from laziness (22:13), on the other hand, today’s proverb discourages us from overworking just to obtain more wealth. The ceaseless struggle to be rich should be avoided at any costs, for it is God who gives us richly all things to enjoy. When we put all our time and effort just to earn more money and become rich, we should remember that we are also spending our lives pursuing false values and putting our trust in things that doesn’t last.
It is therefore not surprising that riches have a way of sprouting wings and flying away like an eagle! In the past century we have seen so many instances of people losing all their life investments and wealth in stock market crashes, financial meltdown in the world economies, particularly in the United States, unraveling of many Ponzi ‘get-rich’ schemes, losing entire life investments through natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, forest fires, etc., people losing all their retirement investments by companies falsifying their accounting books, and, even people losing their life long jobs without any advance warning notice. The material wealth that most of the people in this world longs after is extremely elusive, and like the eagle, may suddenly soar to the heavens, placing itself far beyond our reach.
This is the reason why we are admonished not to make the acquisition of wealth our chief aim in life by concentrating all energies upon its pursuits. It is not worth ruining one’s health for riches that has the habit of elusively disappearing. Instead, let us look closely at what God’s Word has to speak to us in this regard: "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 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 Tim 6:6-10)