The wealthy can be a puzzling lot. After all that is written as a warning in scripture, many of them still think that their wealth in some way makes them special. More puzzling still is trying to understand the rational of those famously rich families who so often blow up in the news. Yet crazier still are those who, after watching this happen in the public eye, still grasp to have what has clearly destroyed those they have watched. It is enough to make one wonder about the sanity of humanity.
It is senseless to see the same story repeated so often though the media, day after day. I guess it is really not that different than those who go after the other two members of the malevolent trifecta of fame and power. It seems that those who desperately want these things all suffer the same fate. I guess it is the same disease that got Adam and Eve into such trouble.
The real root of all three of these sins come from an inflated ego, an unwillingness to live with the fact that we are all desperate and pathetic people, who are not special. Those who can’t seem to live with this reality; that somehow see themselves as different, have a powerful need to show the world that they are unique and special.
One of my favorite books of the Bible has a number of warnings against those who go after money. Proverbs is a book that I grew up reading over and over since it has the same number of chapters as most months have days.
Proverbs 16:5 says how God views these kind of people:
The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (NIV)
Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD. Assuredly they will be punished. (NASB)
The LORD abhors every arrogant person; rest assured they will be punished.(NET)
Like most people, when you abhor something, you try and destroy it quickly. I have seen some ugly spiders in my time and when I do, the first thing I instinctively try to do is kill them. I think that it is the level of which we are talking about here. God so hates the proud, the first thing He wants to do when He sees them is destroy them: but He does not always do that right away, why not?
One of the reasons He does not always punish them right away is hidden in a hardly read book, so hidden that only those who seek for it will find it.
This pearl is found in Ecclesiastes 2:26:
For to a person who is good in His sight, He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. (NASB)
NIV says “gathering and storing”.
This is the secret to why God allows the proud to go unpunished – for a while. It is only so that they can do the busy work of gathering and collecting for the godly. Another way we could say “gathering and collecting” is “creating wealth”.
In the end, for the ungodly, the end is always the same. The very things they are after destroys them, and their wealth passes on to either destroy another, (like a family member which we see too often); or it goes to the godly, who use it for the reasons that God intended it to be used.
How about you? Which will you choose? Will you be used to “gather and store”, or will you be one of the meek who inherits the earth?