THE MOST DANGEROUS SNARE OF ALL
One of the first cravings of men’s hearts is wealth. So universal the desire to gain it, that we might almost say it is a natural instinct. How many have thought if they once possessed it they should be blessed indeed! But there are ten thousand proofs that happiness consists not in the abundance which a man possesseth. [Luke 12:15] So many instances are well known to you all, that I need not quote any to show that riches are not a blessing indeed. They are rather apparently than really so.
Hence, it has been well said, that when we see how much a man has we envy him; but could we see how little he enjoys we should pity him. Some that have had the most easy of circumstances have had the most uneasy minds. Those who have acquired all they could wish, had their wishes been at all sane, have been led by the possession of what they had to be discontented because they had not more.
“Thus the base miser starves amidst his store,
Broods o’er his gold, and griping still at more,
Sits sadly pining, and believes he’s poor.”
Nothing is more clear to anyone who chooses to observe it, than that riches are not the chief good at whose advent sorrow flies, and in whose presence joy perennial springs. Full often wealth cozens the owner. Dainties are spread on his table, but his appetite fails, minstrels wait his bidding, but his ears are deaf to all the strains of music; holidays he may have as many as he pleases, but for him recreation has lost all its charms: or he is young, fortune has come to him by inheritance, and he makes pleasure his pursuit till sport becomes more irksome than work, and dissipation worse than drudgery. Ye know how riches make themselves wings; like the bird that roosted on the tree, they fly away. [Prov 23:5] In sickness and despondency these ample means that once seemed to whisper, “Soul, take thine ease,” prove themselves to be poor comforters. In death they even tend to make the pang of separation more acute, because there is the more to leave, the more to lose.
We may well say, if we have wealth, “My God, put me not off with these husks; let me never make a god of the silver and the gold, the goods and the chattels, the estates and investments, which in Thy providence Thou hast given me. I beseech Thee, bless me indeed. As for these worldly possessions, they will be my bane unless I have Thy grace with them.”
And if you have not wealth, and perhaps the most of you will never have it, say, “My Father, Thou hast denied me this outward and seeming good, enrich me with Thy love, give me the gold of Thy favor, bless me indeed; then allot to others whatever Thou wilt, Thou shalt divide my portion, my soul shall wait Thy daily will; do Thou bless me indeed, and I shall be content.”
Of all the temptations to which God’s children are exposed, GROWING RICH is perhaps THE MOST DANGEROUS OF ALL because IT IS A SNARE THAT THEY DO NOT DREAD!
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows!” [1 Timothy 6:7-10]
“Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.” [Proverbs 30:8]