The coast of Mississippi is lined with miles and miles of beach front property. The homes along the beach are gorgeous. Some are tall. Some are ornately designed. Some look like they are straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Some look like they belong in “Southern Living” or a history book of the South.
Bottom line: these are the types of houses that I want to live in — forever.
Here’s the problem: Mary and I were driving down the beach the other day, and I caught myself admiring the houses. Like normal. Nothing out of the ordinary.
I then remarked to Mary, “You see that house? They threw a huge party the other night, complete with a private concert, a phenomenal light and sound setup, and lots of dressed up wealthy people…”
“… I want to make friends with the owner of that house.”
As soon as that statement came out of my mouth, I immediately felt something stir in me, something uneasy, as if to let me know that line of thinking was wrong.
Do you ever think like that?
Do you ever look at the rich or the wealthy and say to yourself, “I want to be that,” or, “I want what they have,” or at the least, “I want to be their friend”?
It’s what I call aspirations for wealth.
Now, before you throw stones, I don’t necessarily see a problem with aspirations of wealth.
It’s certainly good to be wealthy if God made you that way, or put you in that circumstance, or if you’ve simply managed God’s resources well and so He simply followed the pattern of the parable and gave you more.
Wealth, according to the ancient Greeks, means “fullness of goods.” To be wealthy simply means that you are full of something — finances, love, friends, family, understanding, wisdom.
So, wealth is ok. Aspirations of wealth can be good.
Aspirations for wealth — to be rich like someone else, to want/desire rich friends — leads to bankruptcy, be it emotional or spiritual. It leads to that hollow, empty feeling. Like something is missing. And that feeling of discontentment will overtake you.
Plato and Aristotle thought, “Moderate wealth is best; the uncontrolled wealth that finds security in the constant accumulation of material goods leads to political ruin and renders the individual a-social” (TDNT).
When you aspire to become wealthy, you’re essentially saying that you are not full of goods. That you’re not full of something — of kindness, of grace, of love, of friendships, of ideas, of joy.
Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t sell your family short. Don’t sell your circumstances in life short. Don’t sell God short.
You’re in a particular place in life. Own it. Be the best you that you were made to be.
And if you do that, you’ll be rich.
What do you want to be rich in?