Don't Let Pleasure Make You Poor

Don't Let Pleasure Make You Poor

The wise Jewish King Solomon offered some good counsel. “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.” Proverbs 21:17. 

Why is this? Well in another book he goes on to explain, “He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 5:10. One of the reasons the love of pleasure can make us poor is because once we start to indulge in it can become addicting and hard to give up. It doesn’t have to be something inherently immoral for pleasure to become a problem either. Pleasure could come in various forms such as travel, nice foods, nice clothes etc…Once we get into a habit of something we enjoy we often want it more and don’t place limits on how much we want it as it would be nice to always be able to enjoy or have nice things. 

Now, this is not to say it is wrong to want or enjoy nice things. That is fine, it is when we let things take a hold of our lives to the point that material things or personal services are the focus of our love that it starts to be a problem and our spending can get to be excessive. I have learned that I have told myself and more than one occasion after seeing an item I like that I will only buy one more item like it, because after that I will have had plenty. I may go months and then see a variation of same thing I told myself I would only get one of and then by tempted to get “just one more again”. It is very easy to end up spending more than planned on things we enjoy but don’t necessarily need. 

So, to have a healthy budget one has to start by firmly prioritizing what really matters to us in life. We must keep our wants in check and make sure our needs are accounted for in our budget. Make sure you have amount money needed for established expenses such as the rent/mortgage and make sure you have a generous amount set aside for variable expenses such as food and the electric bill so you don’t risk going over budget if the costs are higher than expected due to some unforeseen event. After that it is good to set some money aside for discretionary spending. 

Sometimes getting a treat for ourselves or others is an impulse purchase but just because something is special or rare purchase doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be well planned for within our budget. We shouldn’t justify completely disregarding an established spending plan just because something doesn’t happen often. We should have some funds set aside or a plan to reduce other expenses in order to make adjustments as needed. Although we can learn how to manage our money better by not allowing the desire for pleasure to take over our lives, there is another way the love of pleasure can lead to poverty which is more important to avoid. After all, are plenty of people who have a lot money and lots of pleasure who are not poor financially but they are still poor people. Our love for pleasure can drown out our love for others living us spiritually poor even if our bank accounts say we are rich. 

Don’t fall into the trap of materialism, dedicate your life to God. “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.” Exodus 22:25 “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need.” Deuteronomy 15:7-8 “The outsider dwelling among you shall be to you as the native-born among you. You should love him as yourself—for you dwelled as outsiders in the land of Egypt. I am Adonai your God.” Leviticus 19:34 “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” Proverbs 28:27 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17 

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