Recent news headlines in Tampa, FL serves as a reminder that wealth cannot buy happiness and peace.
A family of four were found dead following a house fire that destroyed the 6,000 square foot home they were renting in Avila, the most prestigious housing development in Tampa Bay. Adding to the tragedy was the finding that the father “systematically shot his son, his daughter and his wife in the head” before setting the house on fire and turning the gun on himself.
Two “Better…than” parables come to mind when I read the news of the untimely deaths of those who place their affections on temporal wealth and possessions at the sacrifice of their own souls.
Proverbs 16:8 – “Better [pleasing; good; pleasant; delightful] is a little with righteousness [right doing; righteous acts; justice] than great [abundance] revenues [income; fruit] without right [judgment; justice].”
Solomon challenges his son; better to be raised in a poor household that cherishes honesty and integrity than live in the midst of ill-gotten gain. In other words, it is better to be honest and live modestly than rich, having acquired wealth and possessions dishonestly.
Summarizing that same truth, Solomon has written in an earlier chapter:
Proverbs 15:16 – “Better [pleasant, pure, good] is little [few possessions] with the fear [reverence] of the LORD than great [much] treasure and trouble therewith [vexation; confusion].”