what’s up with being rich?

Read: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

Reflect:  Can you imagine for a moment that you are Elon Musk?  You are one of the richest men in the world, you own the largest electric car company in the United States, you have your own space program called SpaceX, and you were on the verge of buying Twitter. Did I miss anything? Well, I think you get the picture. Of course, there are others who qualify as being wealthy. I would argue that anyone worth a cool million is wealthy (comparatively speaking). But being rich isn’t just a modern-day thing, there have been rich people around for centuries, even as far back as the days of Solomon. Now there was a wealthy man!

Solomon’s riches came through commerce, taxes, and gifts paid to him through visiting dignitaries such as the Queen of Sheba. She alone gave the King large quantities of gold, spices, and precious stones. Solomon also owned a fleet of ships, stables full of the finest horses, and of course he owned a host of concubines (300). Solomon, along with his 700 wives, was the wealthiest man of his day. He would have easily given Elon Musk a run for his money (especially if he owned a rocket ship!). But none of this is really a surprise, because it was God who made this promise to Solomon: “Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for-both riches and honor-so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” (I Kings 3:13) At the beginning of Solomon’s reign, God had been impressed with Solomon’s prayer in which he had not asked for long life or wealth for himself, but instead had asked for a discerning heart to be the best ruler he could be. So, God rewarded Solomon with everything he ever could have asked for.

What happened? How does one go from the richest man in town to the most depressed man around? Solomon had a reality check! He was given all the pleasures in the world, but they were “meaningless”. Laughter was just “foolishness”. (Apparently, he hadn’t read any of my ReCharges…. just saying). Solomon goes on to list some of his accomplishments: He undertook great projects, he planted vineyards, he planted fruit trees, he built reservoirs of water, and he owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before him. And what does he say to all of that? “Yet, when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

Apply: I don’t know if your name is Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, or King Solomon, but I do know this. There is nothing that you own that will bring you happiness and satisfaction if it isn’t subservient to Jesus Christ. Everything we own, borrow, or possess, must be given to Him before He can ever build that relationship which we so desperately need.  So today, let’s put aside all those things that are meaningless and let’s set our eyes on Him who gives everything love, joy, and purpose. And while you’re at it, you might want to start working on that rocket ship!

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