Don’t try to get rich by extortion or robbery. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. — Psalm 62:10

It wasn’t until recently that more than 50 percent of American households were invested in the stock market. Given the opportunities for online trading and the lure of get-rich-quick investments, some young families sell family heirlooms to invest the proceeds. Some even take out second mortgages on their homes with a view toward quickly doubling their money on Wall Street. Others devise plans to make enough money to enable them to retire by 50 years of age at the latest. Such is the state of financial frenzy in which many live during prosperous times and bull markets!

King David lived in very different days. There was no stock market, and even charging interest was looked upon with disfavor. But David recognized that “try[ing] to get rich” (Psalm 62:10) was on the minds of at least some of his contemporaries. He warned them about trying to get rich by “extortion or robbery.” For those who had no intention of engaging in fiscal illegalities, David added, “And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.” In saying this, the great king put his finger firmly on a sensitive spot.

Wealth has its own fascinating allure. It holds out the promise of the “best of everything”—the best seat in the stadium, the best table in the restaurant, the best car in the lot, the best school in the suburbs. It beckons with offers of untold delights, it suggests it can cure all ills and satisfy all desires, it whispers that it can open doors otherwise closed, and it boasts that it can solve intractable problems. Is it any surprise that people look to wealth as their savior and make it the center of their lives?

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with wealth. How can there be when God is the one who gives people the ability to get wealth (see Deuteronomy 8:18). It is the prominence that wealth is afforded in the heart that is often wrong. Wealth—or the search for it, or the control of it, or the expenditure of it—does not belong in the center. It is at best peripheral.

As powerful as wealth is—and who can deny its power?—wealth can do nothing about a fundamental aspect of human existence. Human beings are extremely fragile. “If you weigh them on the scales they are lighter than a puff of air” (Psalm 62:9).

Not only is wealth incapable of solving this “unbearable lightness of being,” but when a man for whom wealth is central is wafted into eternity, he goes minus his center. He is hollow. And standing before the one who is the center to all life, he sees his error—but too late.

For further study: Psalm 62

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.