Living for money is always a mistake

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Catchy quotes often offer helpful perspective. A famous rich man once said, “Whoever says money can’t buy happiness, doesn’t know where to shop.” However, his attitude about money differs from several even richer individuals.

W. H. Vanderbilt said, “The care of $200,000,000 is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it.” Henry Ford said, “I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job.” The most dramatic quote was made by America’s most successful businessmen, John D. Rockefeller who said, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness.” Rockefeller was the world’s richest man in his day and adjusting for inflation was worth roughly twice as much as the richest man in the world today, Elon Musk. 

The most famous money quote comes from the Bible, and it is often misquoted as, “Money is the root of all evil.” The statement is actually, “…the love of money is the root of all evil…” (1 Timothy 6:10, KJV) 

Money is not the problem; the issue is our lust for money. Many are willing to do anything for more money including cheating and stealing. Most crime is related to “the love of money.” The crime rate would drop like a rock if people did not lust after money. Many others who never break the law live as though money is what matters most. 

I once read a great fictional story which illustrates how far off-track our attitudes can get. A dying Christian begged God to let him take one thing with him to heaven. God agreed and when the man died he took a bag of gold with him. As he stepped through the pearly gates onto heaven’s golden streets Peter asked, “What was so important that you had to bring it with you?” When he showed Peter his bag of gold the apostle was puzzled and asked, “Of all the things you could have brought, you brought pavement?” 

Many of us never understand the limits of money. Researchers analyzed more than 150 studies on wealth and happiness in 2004. They concluded that more money does not guarantee greater happiness. Although our standard of living has risen sharply over the last several decades, we have not seen a similar rise in people’s satisfaction with life. In fact, just the opposite. According to a study by Professors Ed Diener and Martin E. P. Seligman there has been a substantial increase in depression. 

As one of the richest men in the ancient world put it, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave…” (Job 1:21, NLT) Our attitude about money matters. Making money is necessary— but living for money is always a mistake for when we die our money will no longer have any value to us. 

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