it’s only money

I liked this story and decided to turn it into a devotional for Our Daily Journey.  It’s a good reminder for me.

read > Luke 12:13-21

“Beware!  Guard against every kind of greed.  Life is not measured by how much you own” (v. 15).

Grigory Perelman won the Millennium Prize from the Clay Mathematics Institute for solving a problem that had stumped mathematicians for a century.  When told that the prize came with a $1 million award, Grigory, a reclusive genius who lives with his elderly mother in Russia, said that he would need to think about whether to accept the money.

Grigory may be eccentric but he’s not crazy.  As many lottery winners attest, sudden wealth can be devastating.  Even the slow and steady accumulation of wealth tightens a noose around our lives.  The more we have the more time and money it takes to care for our stuff.  Who is more free—a Chinese person who lives in an apartment and rides a bicycle to work or an American with a manicured lawn and enough vehicles to fill his three stall garage?

Wise and wealthy Solomon observed that it is foolish to suppose “that wealth brings true happiness!  The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it.”  The more you have, the more you have to work to keep what you have, but “We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born.  We can’t take our riches with us,” and so we realize that our “hard work is for nothing” (Ecclesiastes 5:10-16).

Jesus said that “life is not measured by how much you own” and Solomon adds that even what you own can interfere with life.  It sounds crazy, but Grigory may actually be better off without the money.  As long as his basic needs are met, he certainly is no worse.

An opportunity to earn additional income is a gift from God, but if the money is so good that you can’t imagine turning it down, you may be already lost.







2 responses to “it’s only money”

  1. Jonathan Shelley


    Beside the point, but are you indicating that Solomon wrote (or at least is responsible for the content of) Ecclesiastes?

  2. Adam F.

    I never noticed before that Jesus says “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” (Luke 12:14). Huh. That piques my interest.

    And good post Dr. Wittmer. It’s a good reminder for me when I feel greed and jealousy.

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