The Two Richest Men on the Planet

After a four-year hiatus, Bill Gates is back on top as the richest man on the planet. 

His net worth rose $9 billion in the last year, causing him to reclaim the number one spot. Gates has sat comfortably in the top spot for 15 of the last 20 years, but was bumped by Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu. A record net worth of $13 billion is required to make the top ten Forbes list, writes Luisa Kroll in her article, “Inside the 2014 Forbes Billionaires List: Facts and Figures.”

 Money. We all wish we had a little more. 

If we did, we wonder, would we be happier? More fulfilled? Would it solve all our problems and secure our futures? 

In my quest to read through the Bible in a year, I read about the richest man in the world. Even richer, by 900 B.C. standards, than Bill Gates or Carlos Helu. He pondered some of the same questions I’ve asked here. Because he was also the wisest man in the world, he came up with some excellent answers. 

Here are eight facts Solomon discovered about wealth, extracted from Ecclesiastes 4 and 5: 

1. Increased wealth will not satisfy our souls and often makes our lives harder. 
“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind” (4:6). 

2. Man’s desire for wealth can never be satisfied. 
“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (v. 10). 

3. When we work hard, we sleep well. 
“The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much,” (v. 12). 

4. The challenges of wealth often interfere with a person’s sleep. 
 “. . . the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep” (v. 12). 

5. When we hoard our wealth, it harms us. 
“I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner,” (v. 13). 

6. We can’t take our riches with us when we die. 
“Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand” (v. 15). 

7. God wants us to enjoy the fruit of our labor. 
“. . . it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun” (v. 18). 

8. Contentment with what we have is more satisfying than yearning for what we wish we had. 
“. . . when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work-- this is a gift of God” (v. 19). 

So what do you think? Does wealth have the power to satisfy us or is it just a tool God uses to accomplish his purposes in the world? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below to join the conversation. 

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