Hope for your financial life and beyond

Feed Your Pleasures and Break the Bank

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

ID-10035317I’ll bet they really knew how to throw a party in King Solomon’s day.

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?

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  1. Travis Pizel says

    Yeah, we did this for thirteen years and found ourselves not very happy and 109K in debt. During the course of our debt management program we’ve learned that the people in our lives, and the relationships with them are far more important than any amount of “things.” Sometimes life takes a long and curved road to teach us a lesson, huh?

  2. Done by Forty says

    Fantastic message, Brian. The world never satisfies, does it?

  3. ‘If we feed every pleasure, no money will be left over and we will find ourselves financially poor.” Very true. We are living in a world where we feel a strong need to instantly gratifying all of our desires. We don’t want to wait. We want right now! We’ve grown accustomed to having things now and we expect more and more. It can be a vicious cycle. For me, as long as it’s something we truly want and have the money to buy it outright, than it is pleasurable. I can enjoy the experience, the item … whatever. But if we create unnecessary debt that delays us achieving goals of the things we truly want … then I’ve crossed a line.

    • “…we create unnecessary debt…” I think that’s one good indicator Shannon that we have crossed over into dangerous territory. I think another indicator is when our actions begin to hurt those we love. Fulfilling pleasure has gone too far at that point.

  4. I think that happened to me when I was first laid off and started playing beach volleyball. I just did whatever I wanted, when I wanted, with fleeting moments of “I shouldn’t be doing this” but that’s about it. Now in the eyes of the average, everyday person, it probably didn’t look that way as I wasn’t buying boats or taking trips, but I was living well above my means at the time. It can happen to the best of us! 🙂

  5. I try to keep myself in check by remembering that it basically boils down to an issue of stewardship. If I can try to operate under the premise that God owns it all, then I feel more motivated to manage what I’ve got according to His principles.

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