Long-term growth is better than quick gain. Investing in things that last a long time is better than buying disposable items. These statements smash into the values that arose after WWII. The suburbs were grown out of nothing. The automobile allowed people to spread out across a vast area and still get to work. And advertising pushed the lust for the newest and the greatest. “Keeping up with the Jones” became a way of life.
In ancient times the home security system didn’t dial an emergency call center. Security came when your house was inside a walled town, or you could retreat inside the walls of your town. The only way to afford to build such a town was to have extra at the end of the year for many years. Crops had to have sufficient water at the right time. Livestock needed pasture and water. Protection from raiding parties had to be successful. Disputes had to be settled in a satisfactory way for all the people involved.
So when our text says that the fortified city is a symbol of wealth, we can understand why. There were no ‘get rich quick’ schemes. If you look at the source of the richest people in America, most of it originally came from a questionable source. Because they were at the right place at the right time with a healthy dose of hard work, they were able to cash in on life. But their wealth came at the expense of others. The wealth didn’t grow out of nothing. Other people made them rich. Wealth was voluntarily transferred.
In contrast to earthly wealth, the righteous receive life. Unlike a fortified city, life continues with us after the grave. When we die everything stays here. “You can’t take it with you when you die.” This is the reason righteousness is a much better pursuit. Righteousness and life go hand in hand.
Now I don’t want you to think that I haven’t dreamed about being rich, or at least richer than I am. Riches help take away some of the stress of life. It can be very difficult to live on the edge, paycheck to paycheck. STRESS! So enough to make ends meet is nice.
I am getting ready to live on less than half of what I am used to. It will be interesting to see how I handle it. I could easily get stressed if I don’t make the immediate adjustment to my wants and desires. I won’t have disposable income. What I make will be accounted for in some category of “necessary items.”
But I am investing in righteousness. Its value will not diminish when I retire. In fact, I will have more free time to pursue it in greater ways. I won’t feel rushed when I hit a sweet spot in my devotions. I can sit and linger.