When my great-great grandfather was about the age of 50, he lost the wealth he had worked so hard to accumulate all due to the falling price of sheep. Prior to this loss, he owned much of the land in the town of Afton, Wyoming. As I read his life story, I felt this sadness for him. How devastating it would be to have to sell off most of your property! How embarrassing it would be to go from being the man who owned the first furnace in town to losing so much.
The interesting thing, however, is that his loss of riches is only a blip of information in his life story. There is no commentary that it was difficult for him. The only thing listed as difficult for him was when his wife died. Other than that, he is described as being happy, kind, and forgiving at all times. Losing his riches did not embitter him. He has far more information on the years he spent working to accumulate those riches and on the life he led following the loss of those riches.
While we need to be mindful of our money and work to have what we need to care for our families, we need to be careful that money does not slip in and deceive us.
Wealth is a deceitful thing. We can easily become blinded to things that matter in life as we concern ourselves over riches. We can lose sight of the goals that should be at the top of our lists when we let wealth take a top spot. We can covet the things people around us have. Coveting is an easier thing to do than it ever has been. We can see the amazing pictures on Pinterest and other internet sites and wish we had those things.
We can also be deceived by money when we think of wealth as as sign of righteousness. We can think people who are are favored will be blessed with money. We can have similar thoughts and think the wicked should not prosper financially because the don’t “deserve it. ”
Wealth is not the mark of success in what matters in life. So much of how the world measures success is in dollars. We take it to be a sign of how intelligent a person is, how disciplined a person is, how righteous a person is, how savvy a person is, how talented a person is, and how popular a person is. Sometimes, however, money is acquired through nothing more than a string of good luck or even as the result of dishonesty.
We should be the master of money. We should be careful to not put ourselves into unneeded debt. We should work to pay down the debt we do have as quickly as possible. We should temper our wants so we do not spend money we do not need to spend. Budgets are a wise practice. We should be generous with what we have and share with those in need.
Being the mast of money also means recognizing how money can deceive you and do all you can to avoid that deception. Learn to be happy with what you have. Be cautious that you do not become materialistic. You do not need everything every neighbor has. You do not need all that you see online.
Be wise with your money and be cautious with how much you let concern over it take over your mind. I hope someday, the wealth I had and lost will be merely a blip in my life history as well. I do not want my great-great grandchildren reading that I spent my time and efforts achieving wealth. I do not want them to read that I lost wealth and became embittered. I want them to read that I was known for helping others. That I was optimistic and happy. That I love the Lord and my fellow men.