Hope for your financial life and beyond

If You Had One Wish, Would It Be For Money?

Hidden Nuggets Series #7: “Ask! What shall I give you?” – God speaking to Solomon in II Chronicles 1:7

“Oh, no…not me. My values are nobler than that. Money doesn’t hold that kind of power in my life that it would be the first thing I would wish for.”

Genie bottle

Image at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Really?

Careful Pinocchio.

A respected gentleman in my life circle likes to say, “It’s not the money, it’s the money” in reference to decisions that have a financial related angle. Another way to say that is “money answers everything.” Know where that last phrase is found? If you said in the Bible, you would be right. Look it up, it’s there in Ecclesiastes 10:19.

I’d love to ask Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, what he meant by that. I know money can’t buy our way into heaven and I’m pretty confident he knew that also. It can buy pleasure and perhaps bring a sense of happiness but cannot produce joy. It can construct a multi-million dollar church facility to initially get people in the door but it’s not what keeps them coming back.

His statement in Ecclesiastes becomes a bit more confusing when we realize that Solomon didn’t always think that money was the answer for everything.

One night, years earlier, God approached Solomon as the young, new king of Israel. During that pivotal encounter, God told him “Ask! What shall I give you?” (II Chronicles 1:7). How much more of a genie-in-the-bottle scenario can you get than that?

In the quietness of that night, Solomon didn’t ask for riches, although I’m sure the thought swirled through his head. Instead he petitioned God for something he thought far more valuable – wisdom and knowledge. His role as king would position him as judge over the entire nation and he felt inadequately prepared for that role. God was so pleased with this humble request that He made him the wisest man to ever live, and also granted him honor, peace from his enemies, AND incredible wealth.

Solomon got it all.

Would the strength of my morals and my spiritual maturity have produced a similar response? Frankly, I’m not sure. There are several things high on my list to wish for but the lure of money would be real strong because it does solve a lot of problems. I know this much, how we answer this question speaks volumes about what we value.

So what’s your answer?

Do you think Solomon had a change of heart later in life? Or is there a hidden meaning to the “money answers everything” phrase?

An Update and Thank You

This post has taken on new meaning for me since the tragic events that occurred at my school a few weeks ago. Everyone familiar with that event knows what we would use our one wish for. I want to thank everyone who shared the post at the link above through Twitter and Facebook. I’m amazed to report in the last five days that post has been viewed 1,300 times, shared over 950 times on Facebook and emailed 22 times. These statistics overwhelm me and provide me with hope the post is being shared with people who have been touched by that issue and perhaps need encouragement and support. I have to believe that God is using our painful story for good in some person’s life somewhere.

Again, thank you for your prayers and willingness to share through your social media outlets.

Next Post: How to Choose a Career

Prior Post: Celebrating Victory: Reward Yourself for Life’s Achievements

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Comments

  1. Money would definitely cross my mind! But honestly, I would ask for wisdom and maybe patience.

  2. Shannon Ryan says:

    I’m glad to hear your post has reached and helped so many people. Nothing can ever undo what happened but at the very least it can help others heal and find hope. I am sure money would cross my mind if I was offered one wish because I am human after all. I hope like Solomon I would be wise enough to ask for wisdom and knowledge instead and have the faith to know the money will follow.

    • I wonder how life would have changed for him if excessive wealth had not been rewarded for his choice of wisdom? Would he have had a different perspective about life?

  3. Even if I chose to be granted another wish, am sure money would have crossed my mind a dozen times before I made the decision. It may not buy some things, but it comes in handy at solving others, a lot of others and I guess Solomon saw that, (or not), he could have become blinded by wealth (which sounds improbable for a guy that wise) or he could have had a change of heart, he was human after all. And yet as others point out, he’s also the one who says is all meaningless…

    • I’m conflicted on Solomon’s wealth being a “bad” thing. God did give it to him (or allowed it to be produced over time) on purpose because Solomon made such a good decision in asking for wisdom. I think more of Solomon’s regret centered on his personal life and not serving God they way he should have. Perhaps his great wealth drew him away from God to an extent and he seemed to have realized that in the end.

  4. I do believe Solomon is my favorite biblical character. I always am drawn to people with common sense, and I love the story about telling the two women to cut the baby in half, knowing that the true mother would give it to the other lady to save it. Anyway, I think wishing for money is a double edged sword. I’m always afraid of working too much to make all this money and then finding out something like I have a terminal disease. I say wish for health and the ability to be productive and successful. Hopefully the money will follow.

    • I love that story also Kim. The Bible says all who heard him make that decision were astounded he was able to decipher that case. His practical wisdom really does shine forth in Proverbs, one of my favorite books.

  5. Absolutely not. Would not be the first wish. I hope you are healing from the awful tragedy, as are others.

    • Thanks Tony. Many are healing and beginning to experience a sense of normalcy again. Not so for her hard core group of friends. The wound is still way to open for them right now.

  6. I may be thinking of something else, but wasn’t it King Solomon who said “meaningless meaningless, utterly meaningless” in reference to wealth and power? I think that was near the end of his life? Could have been someone else, I haven’t dove into the OT for a long time now. I definitely would be tempted to ask for riches instead of wisdom. I think wisdom can lead to wealth but it has power in and of itself that can’t have a dollar value attached to it.

    • You are right DC, those were his words. I don’t think he was saying that money has no purpose or that we shouldn’t we should completely forgo any accumulation of it. Just that it can’t be what ultimately drives and motivates us. If that’s the case, in the end we will come up empty no matter how much we have accumulated.

  7. Romans 8:28, my friend. God does indeed take the Enemy’s crap and use it for good, and I am certain that you sharing this story will indeed save a life one day. As far as Ecc. 10:19, I think Solomon, much to his own dismay, is stating a fact that with most people these days, money is what drives, motivates and moves people. Even my own imperfect self, I pray for wisdom, because I truly desire it, but also because I know that with it comes money, and I know we’d be a whole lot happier if our debt was gone. Thought-provoking stuff here, Brian. Thank you.

    • Money is such a powerful factor in our lives which is why I think the Bible talks about it so much through its pages. I’m not sure Solomon was motivated by money. It would seem so upon first glance because he had so much of it. But God was the one who basically said, “I’m giving this to you whether you like it or not because I’m so pleased you asked for wisdom.” Not sure Solomon had a choice in that decision. I’d have to look further into his life to see if his attitude changed and if he did indeed strive to get more even though God has blessed him with so much already.

  8. FI Pilgrim says:

    Great timing for me to find this post, thanks Brian. I just started reading in 1 Kings in the OT this morning. One other point about Solomon’s wealth and wisdom is that in the end he found them both “meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). Strong words from someone who had it all.

    • It is interesting that despite his great wisdom he made some foolish mistakes, especially in regards to his relationships with pagan women. They ended up turning his heart away from what truly mattered. It would seem towards the end of his life he realized that.

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