“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.” Proverbs 23:4-5 NLT
Money isn’t the problem, but the desire for it can be. As Paul wrote to young Timothy:
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9 ESV
How much is enough? “Just a little bit more” Rockefeller was famously quoted for saying.
Working hard and providing for yourself and your family is admirable, wearing yourself out trying to get rich is not. It is important to know when to quit. Tolstoy illustrated this perfectly in his short story titled “How much land does a man need?“
In this story Pahom is told that he can walk around as large an area as he wants, starting at daybreak, marking his route with a spade along the way. If he returns to his starting point by sunset that day, all the land his route encloses will be his, but if he does not reach his starting point, he will lose his money and receive no land. He is delighted, as he believes that he can cover a great distance and has chanced upon the bargain of a lifetime.
The next day he starts out at daybreak and stays out as late as possible, marking out the land until just before the sun sets. Toward the end, he realizes he is far from the starting point and runs back as fast as he can. He finally arrives at the starting point just as the sun sets. But exhausted from the run, Pahom drops dead. His servant buries him in an ordinary grave only six feet long, thus answering the question posed in the title of the story. “How much land does a man need?”
As this year begins, guard your hearts from the desire for more.
In His Hands,