But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.

1 Timothy 6:9

Ken had what the world would call the classic tall, dark and handsome outside persona. He was intellectually and musically gifted, had above average computer skills, and exceptionally persuasive smooth-talking people skills. But he succumbed to the temptation of wanting to be rich. And he wanted to be rich quickly.

Early in my relationship with Ken, he approached me about helping him financially with a business deal that appeared credible and held promise to be financially successful. My wife and I prayed about helping him, fully realizing that if we gave him a small loan, we might never see the money again. We did loan him some money, fully grasping the loan might very well end up as a gift.

“I’ll be able to return your $2000 after several months.”

Twenty years later we’re still waiting. The loan did become a gift. God only knows how many other people who had loaned money to Ken are still waiting as well.

Having frequent contact with Ken, I started keeping a record in my office database of the business deals he had approached me about looking for venture capital that involved getting rich quickly. He eventually stopped asking me for money and wanted instead for me to refer him to people I knew who had money.

“Who do you know that would want to participate in this great opportunity?” There was one get rich quick scheme after another. Ken became a professional beggar, always looking for money to fund the next big deal. But here’s the thing – if he had used his considerable personal skills and talents to acquire a job involving accumulation of money gradually, he would have resolved the constant financial pressure for his family. He chose differently. He was always such a good talker. He would tell his wife “Everything will be fine.” Initially, she believed him.

Ken’s life however can be characterized by the hare in Aesop’s Fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”. He rejected slow-moving, tortoise-like methods of wealth accumulation. His heart was ensnared and trapped, pursuing this world more than he pursued God. Continually ensnared and tempted to get rich quick, he did not understand that his longing for money was about to bring the destructive loss of his wife and family.

What was he thinking about? What was going on inside his mind? What were his motives? My guess is he wanted significance and a reputation for financial success. He wanted the respect and admiration of his friends and family. He wanted the world’s definition of “success,” always revolving around the accumulation of more money, power and possessions. He also wanted comfort.

Ken was convinced if he made a lot of money, he would be respected. The irony is that he got the opposite. He fell into the trap of a Ponzi scheme cycle where he would borrow money from someone, or get investors for some get rich scheme, and then use some of the money to keep his family afloat. He was like a dog that returns to his vomit (Prov. 26:11), continuing this cycle that never seemed to turn out well.

The motives of Ken’s heart didn’t change, and his behavior didn’t change. Ken wanted riches so badly that he was willing to sacrifice his family and his own reputation in order to get what he felt would satisfy him. His insistence on pursuing quick financial gains resulted in continual financial struggle and bondage for his family. It was actually emotionally painful to watch. His community of Christian friends grieved for his wife Ann and their children as the financial afflictions continued.

In 2 Peter 2:2-3, the Bible talks about false teachers having two wretched goals. One is financial gain and another is sexual conquest. Living a life of “duping” others, Ken unwittingly had been duped himself into a lifestyle that plunged him into financial devastation. He was pursuing financial gain in an unbalanced way, setting the stage for harmful physical desires. His marriage and his relationship with his children continued to unravel and sink further into ruin. His wife Ann finally threw in the marriage towel when the adulterous relationships started.

Behind the “what we do” in our lives is the “why we do it,” also known as our motives. When does a healthy desire to provide for our family morph into sin? Working hard and desiring to have a financially successful business are not bad in themselves, but Ken valued them more than obeying and serving God. Wanting to get rich became an idol of destruction in Ken’s life.

The problem was not that Ken wanted to be successful financially; the problem was that he wanted it so badly that he was willing to sin to get that financial success.

Rather than focusing on a desire to get rich fueled by the world’s false teaching and greed in his heart, had Ken been absorbed in the sound doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine according to godliness, he could have been saved from painful family and financial destruction.

 

Here are some Questions for Reflection

When life becomes especially tough, the true motives of our hearts rise to the surface. After reading about the sadness of Ken’s story, where is your heart in the pursuit of riches? Has the accumulation of wealth become so strong that you have tipped the scale on the side of a pursuit of riches, over a pursuit of the living God?

Have you been ensnared by harmful desires for money that could plunge you into financial bondage, a loss of your family or your good name? The power to change will come as you fall more deeply in love with Jesus.

 

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section on Facebook or send me an email.

Thanks for reading!

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading stm_title_font_weight=”600″ source=”post_title” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.

1 Timothy 6:9

Ken had what the world would call the classic tall, dark and handsome outside persona. He was intellectually and musically gifted, had above average computer skills, and exceptionally persuasive smooth-talking people skills. But he succumbed to the temptation of wanting to be rich. And he wanted to be rich quickly.

Early in my relationship with Ken, he approached me about helping him financially with a business deal that appeared credible and held promise to be financially successful. My wife and I prayed about helping him, fully realizing that if we gave him a small loan, we might never see the money again. We did loan him some money, fully grasping the loan might very well end up as a gift.

“I’ll be able to return your $2000 after several months.”

Twenty years later we’re still waiting. The loan did become a gift. God only knows how many other people who had loaned money to Ken are still waiting as well.

Having frequent contact with Ken, I started keeping a record in my office database of the business deals he had approached me about looking for venture capital that involved getting rich quickly. He eventually stopped asking me for money and wanted instead for me to refer him to people I knew who had money.

“Who do you know that would want to participate in this great opportunity?” There was one get rich quick scheme after another. Ken became a professional beggar, always looking for money to fund the next big deal. But here’s the thing – if he had used his considerable personal skills and talents to acquire a job involving accumulation of money gradually, he would have resolved the constant financial pressure for his family. He chose differently. He was always such a good talker. He would tell his wife “Everything will be fine.” Initially, she believed him.

Ken’s life however can be characterized by the hare in Aesop’s Fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”. He rejected slow-moving, tortoise-like methods of wealth accumulation. His heart was ensnared and trapped, pursuing this world more than he pursued God. Continually ensnared and tempted to get rich quick, he did not understand that his longing for money was about to bring the destructive loss of his wife and family.

What was he thinking about? What was going on inside his mind? What were his motives? My guess is he wanted significance and a reputation for financial success. He wanted the respect and admiration of his friends and family. He wanted the world’s definition of “success,” always revolving around the accumulation of more money, power and possessions. He also wanted comfort.

Ken was convinced if he made a lot of money, he would be respected. The irony is that he got the opposite. He fell into the trap of a Ponzi scheme cycle where he would borrow money from someone, or get investors for some get rich scheme, and then use some of the money to keep his family afloat. He was like a dog that returns to his vomit (Prov. 26:11), continuing this cycle that never seemed to turn out well.

The motives of Ken’s heart didn’t change, and his behavior didn’t change. Ken wanted riches so badly that he was willing to sacrifice his family and his own reputation in order to get what he felt would satisfy him. His insistence on pursuing quick financial gains resulted in continual financial struggle and bondage for his family. It was actually emotionally painful to watch. His community of Christian friends grieved for his wife Ann and their children as the financial afflictions continued.

In 2 Peter 2:2-3, the Bible talks about false teachers having two wretched goals. One is financial gain and another is sexual conquest. Living a life of “duping” others, Ken unwittingly had been duped himself into a lifestyle that plunged him into financial devastation. He was pursuing financial gain in an unbalanced way, setting the stage for harmful physical desires. His marriage and his relationship with his children continued to unravel and sink further into ruin. His wife Ann finally threw in the marriage towel when the adulterous relationships started.

Behind the “what we do” in our lives is the “why we do it,” also known as our motives. When does a healthy desire to provide for our family morph into sin? Working hard and desiring to have a financially successful business are not bad in themselves, but Ken valued them more than obeying and serving God. Wanting to get rich became an idol of destruction in Ken’s life.

The problem was not that Ken wanted to be successful financially; the problem was that he wanted it so badly that he was willing to sin to get that financial success.

Rather than focusing on a desire to get rich fueled by the world’s false teaching and greed in his heart, had Ken been absorbed in the sound doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine according to godliness, he could have been saved from painful family and financial destruction.

 

Here are some Questions for Reflection

When life becomes especially tough, the true motives of our hearts rise to the surface. After reading about the sadness of Ken’s story, where is your heart in the pursuit of riches? Has the accumulation of wealth become so strong that you have tipped the scale on the side of a pursuit of riches, over a pursuit of the living God?

Have you been ensnared by harmful desires for money that could plunge you into financial bondage, a loss of your family or your good name? The power to change will come as you fall more deeply in love with Jesus.

 

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section on Facebook or send me an email.

Thanks for reading![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”consulting-right-sidebar”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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