By Chaplain (Capt.) Jeremy Dunn
Special to GUIDON
“Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth, except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!”
— Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
On January 30, 1848, James Marshall found a gold nugget in California. A half a million people would rush to California in an attempt to find their fortunes.
Most of those people found nothing and many lost their lives in pursuit of financial reward.
The passage above is from the Book of Ecclesiastes and is attributed to King Solomon, one of the wealthiest men ever to live.
In these writings, Solomon looks back upon his life and realizes that he has spent most of it foolishly trying to satisfy his desires with power, wealth, pleasure and wisdom.
Despite his success, he is unhappy and unfulfilled. The lesson for the contemporary reader is not that having money in and of itself is bad, but the place that it occupies in our lives matters.
How we choose to pursue our goals, and what we use our resources to accomplish, illustrates our priorities in life.
Do we recklessly chase after temporary gains, or muscle others out of the way for our own ambition?
Do we squander our time and money on selfish ends or use what we have to better the lives of those around us?
Solomon ends this passage by reminding his readers that we are able to take nothing with us when we die.
At the end of our lives, others will remember not what we had, but what we did with what we had.
Invest in your families, your friends and your communities, and you will find happiness that exceeds what material gain can provide.
God, may we be found faithful as we try to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us.
(Editor’s note: Dunn is the 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment chaplain.)