“Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17 NLT).
One of the most famous kings of Old Testament Israel was Solomon, who reigned from 971 B.C. to 931 B.C. Other than Jesus Himself, Solomon was a man who was gifted with wisdom that far surpassed those who preceded or followed him. In the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon made a common-sense statement that relates to this passage from 1 Timothy 6:17…
“Here is someone who lives alone. He has no son, no brother, yet he is always working, never satisfied with the wealth he has. For whom is he working so hard and denying himself any pleasure? This is useless, too—and a miserable way to live” (Ecclesiastes 4:8 GNB).
Even though Solomon lived almost three thousand years ago, his observations about life and work remain true today. For instance, let’s take the example of a person who is determined to become wealthy and make it to the top of the business world. When someone decides to place that kind of success at the forefront of his or her life, other things like family, friendships, and a relationship with Christ often become secondary or irrelevant.
Another problem is that a climb up the business ladder often never ends. For example, there is always a better office, a more prestigious position, or a greater opportunity available for the person who is willing to sacrifice a little more. As a result, it’s easy to become more isolated, more focused on “success,” and more preoccupied with a career goal to the exclusion of everything else.
In fact, it’s possible to become so preoccupied with “success” that we often fail to ask one simple question: “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” (ESV). In considering this verse, one commentator from the 17th century observed, “Frequently, the more men have, the more they would have; and on this they are so intent, that they get no enjoyment from what they have.” (1)
Because of this, those who seek business or financial success above all else may ultimately find that such things have eluded them- and in the words of King Solomon, “This also is vanity and a grave misfortune” (NKJV). Finally, this attitude serves to deny the gracious provision of God “who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment” (NET).
Portions of this message originally appeared here
(1) Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mhn/ecclesiastes-4.html