The Rich Fool
Once there was a very wealthy man named Damien Titan who lived in the mountains of Jericho, just west of one of the largest trading centers in the modern world. Damien’s riches were obtained from his trading empire. He was very proud of his accomplishments and often boasted about how he was highly favored by God. Damien spent his entire life working to increase his gold and silver reserves.
Damien often avoided people and did not enjoy spending his money on lavish entertainment or giving to the poor. He frequently condemned the poor as lazy and always wanting a handout. Damien also loathed family gatherings and such — he viewed his relatives as barnacles, feeding on his financial well-being. He even told his children they would need to find their pot of gold because he was not leaving them any of his riches.
Damien regularly spoke about how the government and their dominion of leaches prayed on the rich by excessively taxing them to support their evil doings along with giving a token handout to the sluggards who refuse to work hard and make their way. The government, according to Damien, only enriched themselves and kept the poor oppressed and needy so they will support their public office. The corrupt government, Damien explained, was worse than beggars in the street.
Damien, with all his riches, was a very unhappy man. He spent countless nights worrying about protecting his fortune. Sleep-deprived, Damien would often wake himself from nightmares of his riches being stolen or lost. His wife interrupted many of his dreams because he was talking in his sleep about how he never had enough money to quench his thirst. Damien Titan was a slave haunted by his false ideology.
Parts of the fictional story above may represent many of us today. We let money control our lives in some form or another. King Solomon expressed his discontent in searching for happiness through riches in Ecclesiastes 5: 8–20. He witnessed firsthand how money can ruin a man, whether by pride, worry, or overall discontent. According to King Solomon, money also breeds corruption. The desire to have more money creates even more corruption. Chasing money and riches, “under the sun” (on earth), King Solomon found to be futile.
Happiness, as stated by King Solomon, is not found in chasing riches but by being content with the provisions God has given each of us to enjoy. He reminds us we came into the world with nothing, and we will leave with the same amount. Therefore, we cannot store up treasures on earth in hopes of some additional benefit in heaven. (Read Luke 12:13–21, KJV) We do have a responsibility to take care of our family and give provisions to the poor. Our first fruits should always be to God for His purposes. Then we are commanded to pay our bills, avoid debt, and invest wisely.
How do we invest wisely without dishonoring God? First, our investments should follow the example of the wise steward as expressed in the Parable of the Talents (Mathew 25:14–30, KJV). We are to invest our gifts, including money, so it will multiply and become a blessing for others. Second, we should not allow our money to get into the hands of those who will misuse it to exploit someone or use it in a manner that will be counter to God’s plan. If we invest in a company that does not pay a fair wage to their employees or donates to organizations that promote abortion and other misaligned activities counter to our biblical foundation, we are dishonoring God — we are just as guilty of the sin because we are owners in the company and therefore co-contributors. Third, we should always build a solid foundation with our investments that diversify our assets among various market segments and incorporate non-correlated types of investments. If all our assets are tied to the stock market, then a major drop in the stock assets can significantly reduce our portfolio value.
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth (Ecclesiastes 11:2, KJV).
Therefore, it is advisable to use alternative assets for a portion of our investment portfolio. For example, direct real estate investing is a non-correlated asset to the stocks traded on the stock exchange. Fourth, be cognizant of building retirement income, especially in the years proceeding your retirement. As an investor, do not concentrate on just accumulating assets without some measure of converting those assets to an income stream. Last, continue to monitor and rebalance your portfolio to correspond with your risk tolerance and life stage.
Please read “The Vanity of Riches” Ecclesiastes 5: 8–20 below. I hope you will have a better appreciation of King Solomon’s message.
Your faithful servant
The Vanity of Riches (Ecclesiastes 5: 8–20, KJV)
8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.
10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?
12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.
14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.
15 As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.
16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?
17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.
18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
The Holy Bible: KJV King James Version. (2016). Nashville, Tennessee: Holman Bible.