We just finished up a series on financial stewardship in our Adult Bible Fellowship. It was great to review what the Bible teaches about money as well as hear some practical financial wisdom applied to today’s economic conditions.
Nathan Busenitz posted an excellent article that contained many quotes from well-known people (some rich, others just famous) as well as a Biblical summary reminding us that money can’t buy happiness. Here’s a few excerpts from “Dollars and Sense” :
It was Andrew Carnegie who reportedly said, “Millionaires seldom smile. Millionaires who laugh are rare. My experience is that wealth is apt to take the smiles away.” William Vanderbilt’s comment was this: “The care of 200 million dollars is too great a load for any brain or back to bear. It is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it.” And Henry Ford concluded, “I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job.”
Even John D. Rockefeller couldn’t find happiness in the millions he amassed. When he was asked, “How much is enough?” he answered, “Just a little bit more.” Toward the end of his life, he said, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness. I would barter them all for the days I sat on an office stool in Cleveland and counted myself rich on three dollars a week.” And when his accountant was asked, “How much did John D. leave after he died?” The accountant’s reply was classic: “He left all of it.”
In more recent years, the woeful tales of many lottery winners underscore the same principle — even a financial windfall can’t guarantee happiness. In August 1975, Charles Lynn Riddle won $1 million. Afterward, he got divorced, faced several lawsuits and was indicted for selling cocaine. In 1977, Kenneth Proxmire also won $1 million. Within five years, he declared bankruptcy and his wife of 18 years left him, along with their kids. In 1989, Willie Hurt of Lansing, Michigan won $3.1 million. Two years later, he was broke and charged with murder. His lawyer said Hurt spent his fortune on a divorce and crack cocaine. On December 19, 2001, lottery millionaire Phil Kitchen drank whiskey until he passed out on his couch and died. On July 11, 2002, lottery winner Dennis Elwell, committed suicide by drinking cyanide.
On September 13, 2003, the London Telegraph reported that 16-year-old British lottery millionaire Callie Rogers had lost her boyfriend, fought with her father, been mugged, and been accused of stealing someone else’s boyfriend. She told the Telegraph, “Some days I don’t even want to leave my house because people just scream abuse at me. Two months ago I thought I was the luckiest teenager in Britain. But today I can say I have never felt so miserable.”
Read more from Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and Patrick Henry as well as some Biblical wisdom here.
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