More Money, More Problems: Proverbs 23
The New International Version of the Bible mentions King Solomon’s yearly salary at 666 talents of gold per year. One talent of gold equals 34.5 kg, which converts to 1109 troy ounces. A ballpark current value of gold is $960 per ounce. Multiply that out and the King’s salary was about $760 million per year. Not bad. Not bad at all. Multiply that by the 40 years he was in power and you end up with a a figure of slightly over $30 billion. That’s just salary!
But King Solomon’s wealth would not be complete without accounting for the other property and assets he owned. Horses, land, etc. Plus, we’re figuring that if he was investing by Biblical principles and had God’s voice in his ear, his return on investment would have been a healthy one. Just taking a wild guess, it seems like the King could have been the owner of a net worth that could easily have translated into $100 billion today.
Not too shabby, right? But isn’t it interesting that the same man who could have had anything he wanted had this to say about gaining wealth?:
4 Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your [b]consideration of it.
5 [c]When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
There’s something very trustworthy about that… you know, a multi-billionaire in the Bible telling me not to worry about gaining wealth. I think it says a lot about the sovereignty of God. After all, if Solomon believed that it was wise not to worry about wealth, but God gave him a ridiculous amount of money to accomplish His will on earth, then that means that God did it despite Solomon’s desires.
In a time where so many Christians are commanding God to provide what they need, it’s comforting to see examples in Scripture where God clearly blesses people despite their confession. God had a plan for Solomon. That plan involved kingship and great wealth. God used that king to share godly wisdom that says, “You may think you want more money than you know what to do with, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a sure-fire answer to all of your problems… because it’s not.”
I’ve known people who have lived in modern-day palaces, yet sacrificed their families in the process of obtaining those things. I’ve also encountered malnourished orphans with rotten teeth who had more peace and joy than you and I may ever have. More money may seem like the answer to your problems today, but it isn’t. After all, if you had more money, you’d only have a different set of issues to deal with.
But what we can trust in is this: God created us and everything we know. The Book of Proverbs is a priceless resource when it comes to getting to know the will of that Creator. And as we focus on applying these things we read, some problems may not go away but they’ll certainly become easier to manage.