Look, Ma, I’m Rich!   Leave a comment

Ah, yes, the words I have dreamed of one day uttering myself.  After all, isn’t success measured in dollars?

I have quite the dream list for all the money that I’ll one day possess.  You’d be amazed at what my new house will look like, complete with all the frills that we modern people so desperately need.  My cars will be roomy and comfortable, my pets well groomed, my family in designer clothes, my wife in exquisite jewelry, my bank account overflowing.

While I’m dreaming like this, do you suppose it wise that I go ahead and count on perfectly straight and pearly white teeth, the return of hair on the top of my head and a trim, slim physique?  I might as well because precisely none of the above are in my foreseeable future!

I am not putting down the idea of having a good dream, a desired vision, or even having nice things.  What I’m tartgeting today is the motivation by which some people use to get them.

“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, NIV.

There are far more important things in life than what we can possess along the way.  The American Dream is quite the lovely picture, but I’m not going to hurt myself to obtain it.  This message is for that which I consider myself – a workaholic.

In the few years of ministry that I have had the privilege to serve, I have seen far too many people encounter similar fates.  They have worked and worked and worked very hard for the purpose of either living in style or retiring in style.  Their sole purpose seems to be, “Let’s see just how much money we can make, so that life will be good.”  Never have I seen anyone achieve this goal.

Most people with this orientation have problems with satisfaction.  They get so caught up in seeking riches that they never find a stopping point.  Just when is enough enough?  This causes one to slip into a horrific cycle, or trap, that induces stress into ones life.  The workaholic machine is easily fed because there are still dollars out there to be had.  Workaholicism (a word?) is a determination to forsake whatever stands in the way of achieving a goal regardless of who or what is affected.

My persona bout with workaholicism usually has more to do with something other than money.  I have always desired to keep or make everyone happy.  In my area of service, I occasionally disregard my personal obligations of family and self-care in order to meet the needs/wants of the crowd.

This is wrong!

Here is what has helped me so far in overcoming this problem:

1. Prayer.  Spending quality quiet time with the Lord in two-way conversation helps reduce all kinds of ailments, including giving in to the temptations of neglecting something good for what is best.

2. Commitment.  Decide to learn to say NO, even to do some of the things that you know you would enjoy and in which you would accelerate.  Some things are more important!  Once you’ve made the commitment, you must stick to it.  Compromise is the tool of the devil, and he will quickly bring you right back into the same pattern if you let him.

3. Family.  In my situation, spending quality time with my wife and children is not only something that helps bring things back into perspective, but it also solves the problem of being a workaholic.  Once that family time becomes habitual, it quickly rises to the top of your “to do” list and offers pleasures that endure much longer than dollars.

4. Contentment.  Get real with your financial goals.  Do you really need that new car, or are you just trying to maintain the image?  Is there really any extra value in something that has a well-publicized brand name?  Learn to be content.  I don’t have much, but I am thankful for what I have.  All of those dream items I listed above would be wonderful.  But I have a decent place to live, cars that actually run and get reasonably good gas mileage.  I have clothes for my family and food on my table.  what more do I really need?

How badly do you want to get rich?  True wealth is found in those who can find earthly satisfaction and contentment, and those who possess eternal rewards in heaven by trusting in Jesus Christ.

Posted September 14, 2008 by David N. Peppler, Sr. in Christian Lifestyle

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