Hidden Nuggets Series #24 – “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.” – Proverbs 21:17
His reign ushered in the peak of ancient Israel’s wealth and prosperity. Buoyed by the successful reign of his father King David and endowed with special wisdom from God, Solomon’s kingdom produced so much wealth, the Bible has this to say about it in I Kings 10:27:
“The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem…”
How’s that for wealthy? And everyone, rich and poor, was able to benefit.
The rising tide lifted all boats.
So you can see why I think parties were commonplace, especially at the palace. At the minimum they lived in extreme opulence. We know Solomon’s throne was made of gold and overlaid with ivory. That’s pretty sweet.
With all this wealth at his fingertips Solomon could pleasure himself with anything he wanted.
And we know he tried. In the book of Ecclesiastes (which he also wrote), he describes himself as seeking pleasure in all known forms – in food and wine, in personal possessions, in kingdom building, and in sexual pleasure with women.
Did I mention the Bible tells us he had 1,000 wives? Talk about pleasure seeking.
Yet none of it satisfied him. In fact, he described the pursuit of pleasure apart from God as vanity. It was like chasing after the wind.
Under the title of this post I quoted one of Solomon’s sayings – Proverbs 21:17. In those words, we see that Solomon is advocating wisdom in how we spend our money. If we feed every pleasure, no money will be left over and we will find ourselves financially poor.
In fact, we probably all know someone who refused to heed that principle and wrecked their life by gratifying every desire.
How does that happen? Can’t the individual see their behavior has them headed over a cliff?
Truth is, they probably can see it but feel powerless to stop themselves.
Such is the strong lure of pleasure.
The problem with seeking pleasure after pleasure is that we continually have to up the ante so that we get the same buzz from the activity. $100 spent on new clothing doesn’t give us the rush that it once did so now we have to spend $200. After awhile, $200 won’t be enough to generate that feeling. So we spend more…and more…and on the cycle goes as we try to recreate the same level of pleasureful feelings.
(Insert any type of thrill seeking pleasure “here” and the same principle applies.)
The Bible never says we can’t use our money for any type of fun activity. We are simply to be wise. Our desire should not be to frivolously lavish ourselves with pleasures in an attempt to find life’s meaning through them.
Pleasure quickly fades. It produces no lasting peace. Taken to extremes it bankrupts our pocketbook and leaves us emotionally and spiritually void.
The challenge here today then is to use our resources on things that create value and bring a richness and purpose to our existence.
Don’t let the pursuit of pleasures bankrupt you.
Has there ever been a time in your life where you wildly spent on pleasures? If you are interested, you can read mine here. Where is the line drawn that determines when spending on fun activities or pleasures becomes a negative force in your life? How do you stop yourself from spending on anything you want?