Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
have the wisdom to show restraint.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle. —Proverbs 23:4-5
T. Rowe Price. Chuck Schwab. Ameritrade. Scottrade. Fidelity. These investment firms are frequent visitors in your home. No, they aren’t invited guests. They attach themselves to the televised
sporting events that are the favorites of American men. So, just after your team scores, Chuck Schwab shows up, encouraging you to make wise investments using his brokerage firm. Just as Chuck is saying goodbye, the owner of Scottrade flies by in his helicopter to let you know how his firm makes investing affordable. These commercials are then followed by a commercial for
Lexus. The message is clear: “Security and peace of mind come from making wise investments and making your money grow. Things provide accomplishment and stability.”
While it is good to save and plan for the future, your security lies elsewhere.
The above passage from Proverbs gives very different advice than your friendly investment broker does. Solomon reminds you that the future is not as secure as you are led to believe. Luke 12:13-34 also talks about making wise investments. Christ urges his hearers to invest in things that will not wear out.
This warning from Proverbs is a sharp, pithy reality check. The vivid language evokes startling mental images—imagine your 401K account suddenly sprouting wings and flying off into the sunset! Again, these Proverbs are not warning against wise saving and investments (see Proverbs 13:11); what they are warning against is trusting in savings or investments to be your
security. Many folks have strong portfolios but are relationally and spiritually bankrupt.
These proverbs say, Don’t spend your energy to become rich!!! Or, as the TV commercials say, don’t wear yourself out for financial security. The balance here is to identify what you are investing yourself in. As Paul teaches in Philippians 4, neither wealth nor poverty has any real value of its own. As men we often think in the long-term. So we justify not investing time with our wives and children because we are building for the future—for their future. The warning is that all of our efforts can fly off in a heartbeat. The greatest and most secure gift that you can give your wife and your children is taking the time to show them the love of Christ in the middle of your busy, hectic life.
Use this passage to think about your investments. What are you
giving yourself to (wearing yourself out for)?