21 clip2In Ecclesiastes 5:8-16 we’ve talked about how money will not bring me love, solve my problems, give me lasting peace, satisfy my deepest need, or return any affection I might lavish on it. In one more verse Solomon adds that it has all the potential to make my life miserable. He writes in verse 17, “Moreover, all his (the man with lots of money) days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.” When we trade relationships with others for profit, when we sacrifice peace with God for personal gain, and when we place our affection on the gifts rather the giver, we forfeit a clear conscience, a sense of personal self-worth and the peace of mind that’s so precious to us all. Solomon says we may gain the world, but we’ll lose our own souls. We will eat our fine meals in darkness – loneliness, guilt, despair and depression. Our hearts will be continually vexed and we will indeed be “soul sick.” When the things we look to for meaning and purpose fall through in their promises, we find ourselves angry. Anger arises out of unmet expectations.

Phil Ryken summarizes this verse by saying, “The miser will end up alone in his misery. Because he lives in spiritual darkness, his soul will be vexed with many anxieties. The ungodly pursuit of wealth will take its physical toll, leaving him in poor health. He will also be very angry—a bitter old man—for who has ever heard of a happy miser? People who live for money try to hold on to as much of it as they can, but when they have to let it go—as everyone does eventually—it makes them angry with everyone and everything.” Anger can destroy our relationships. The word miser comes from the same root word as “miserable.”

I’ve found that one of the major problems in marriages is money. Some couples argue about it. Some fight over it, and I’ve known some to split up over it. I’ve always struggled with why this happens. Husbands and wives yell, swear, and even verbally abuse each other over financial issues. I’ve seen it time and again. Some have even done this in front of me during counseling sessions. They get very angry. If the “love of money is the root of all evil,” maybe we should stop and think about why we’re angry. Ryken suggests that some of our anger might be caused by, “excessive love for the things of this world. When we get angry, what is the reason? When husbands and wives have arguments about how much to spend, for example, and what to spend it on are they disagreeing about the principles of Biblical stewardship, or are they really just fighting for what they want to have? The unsatisfied desire for worldly possessions is one powerful producer of anger.”