Many people believe it is good to try to get rich quickly. Some of the common methods utilized to obtain “financial freedom” are as follows:
1. lottery tickets—sometimes promoted as “Imagine the freedom”
2. aggressive investing—usually with a lot of debt
3. excessive hard work, which is out of balance
God’s directive is different. The emphasis in scripture is to plan and save for future needs slowly over a period of time.
“Steady plotting brings prosperity, hasty speculation brings poverty” (Proverbs 21:20 TLB)
“He who gathers money little by little makes it grow” (Proverbs 13:11 NIV).
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”(Proverbs 21:5)
Over the past 30 years I’ve seen many cases in which people who wanted to get rich quickly ended up losing everything. God warns that hasty decisions frequently lead to poverty. In my experience, individuals who have accumulated significant wealth—and retained it—have done so over many years (20 years or longer).
At the time the Book of Proverbs was written, most people made their living off the land as farmers. God provides the following admonition:
He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 28:19, 20 )
In short, God is saying that you should focus on earning your income from your occupation or business. When people invest or get involved in areas that they don’t understand, generally they lose money. (See Proverbs 19:2.)
God warns of the dangers of trying to get rich:
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. (Proverbs 23:4, 5)
The Apostle Paul also outlined significant “spiritual risks” of trying to get rich:
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9, 10)
In summary, the emphasis in scripture is to plan and save for needs over a period of time, without the attitude of trying to get rich quickly. God has promised that if we put him first, then he will meet our needs (Matthew 6:31–33).