Thursday, August 23, 2007
Do I want a yacht?
Maybe it's our politicians bragging about extra billions of budget surplus, Australia's strong economic position, the present government's commendable fiscal policy, or the fact that my bank card is due, but recently I seem to be noticing various comments relating to possessions and wealth, to money or the lack of it. Maybe it's simply the ruminations of a poor man.
One is continually told that wealth and riches do not necessarily bring happiness – rather the opposite. Stories are trotted out illustrating how wealth (especially windfalls) has resulted in ruined lives. None of which seem to deter people from wanting to win Gold Lotto, or convince CEOs with obscene salaries to take less.
We are certainly in an age of want.
The story is told of this businessman who went for a week-end retreat at a monastery. When shown to his rather bare room (cell) he commented to the monk, “This is it then?” “Yes,” the monk replied, “but if there's anything you want let us know and we will show you how to live without it!”
Which brings to mind old King Solomon. (I say old deliberately) He had riches (richest man in his day apparently) and also wisdom. He regretted that his wealth did not bring him happiness and contentment and so later in life advocated moderation. (This is the wisdom kicking in) “I ask you, God, to let me have two things before I die: keep me from lying, and let me be neither rich nor poor. So give me only as much food as I need. If I have more, I might say that I do not need you. But if I am poor, I might steal and bring disgrace on my God (Proverbs 30: 7-9).”
How unfortunate that politicians seek to buy our votes by giving instead of progressing our lives by doing. So maybe it was the politicians who got me thinking about money. Or was it Solomon who got me thinking about politicians? What was the other thing Solomon wanted?