Proverbs 23:4

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

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The goal to be a successful Christian businessman is a delusion from hell. It is trusting your wisdom, rather than God’s wisdom. Make your goal instead to be a successful Christian. If God blesses the business part of your life, good; if not, you will still be successful. True success is godliness with contentment, regardless of gain (I Tim 6:6).

Why labor to be rich? Solomon condemned such a goal due to the temporary nature of wealth – money flies away (Pr 23:5). Adversity reduces it; thieves steal it; mouths devour it; governments tax it; decay consumes it; and fools squander it. Ecclesiastes details how riches disappear from their owner. Chasing wealth is vanity and vexation of spirit.

But there are more reasons seeking to be rich is foolish. You brought nothing into this world, and you will take nothing out; why heap up assets for probate court to distribute (I Tim 6:7-8)? Riches do not satisfy – the more you have, the more you will want (Eccl 5:10). Riches also steal your peace, for you must worry about keeping them (Eccl 5:12).

Cease from your own wisdom! Your wisdom says you can defeat the problems with wealth. It says you were not born with the temptations of other men. It says you will live for a long time. It says you can keep riches safely without worrying. It says money will make you happy. But the worst aspect is yet to come – seeking wealth destroys the soul.

Financial success – riches or wealth – as a goal is very dangerous and deceitful. Paul warned, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition” (I Tim 6:9). Read his sober words and tremble before this grave advice. What is the cause? Desiring to be rich!

He added, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim 6:10). Seeking wealth destroys faith. Set your goal to be a successful Christian. Forget the business part. Money is not the problem – the love of money is the problem.

If wealth is your goal, your heart will follow (Matt 6:19-21). Covetousness will consume you. You will cool toward God and heaven; you will sacrifice godliness for economic gain. Your priorities will be distorted. You will leave Christ, like the rich young ruler.

Your wisdom lies. You cannot serve God and wealth (Matt 6:24); a double-minded man is totally unstable (Jas 1:8). Riches will not make you happy (Luke 12:15). Make Christ your only goal (Col 3:1-4). Be content with Him and whatever you have (Heb 13:5-6).