“Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?”- Proverbs 27:4

“For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” – 1 Corinthians 3:3

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” – Exodus 20:17

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” – James 3:16

It requires self-discipline and a strong desire to live a righteous life to avoid jealousy.  If most of your life goals are to have vast assets, or to be popular among many people, you will face jealousy among those people who achieve more material things than you achieve.  Envy and jealousy are results of focusing on material goals.   

Of course we must work to take care of our material needs, but if earning wealth is more important than supporting others, your life will be dominated with finances and late in life you may wish that you supported all the other parts of your life and supported all the people close to you. 

Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Computers died when he was still younger than sixty years old.  He said on the last day of his life,

“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes my life is an epitome of success.  However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.  As we grow older, and hence wiser, we slowly realize that —

  • wearing a $300 or $30 watch – they both tell the same time…
  • Whether we carry a $300 or $30 wallet/handbag – the amount of money inside is the same.
  • Whether we drive a $150,000 car or a $30,000 car, the road and distance is the same, and we get to the same destination.
  • Whether we drink a bottle of $300 or $10 wine – the hangover is the same.
  • Whether the house we live in is 300 or 3000 sq ft – loneliness is the same.
George meeting his brother Richard and family

George started a business shortly after graduating from college.  He married his high school sweetheart and had two children.  He believed that the secret to being successful in life is to focus on developing wealth so he and his family could live life in comfort.  He focused so much on his business that he missed most of the events of children and did not spend time with his friends or relatives. 

He worked hard and did develop substantial wealth.  However, when he was in his late forties, he became ill.  The sickness was diagnosed as cancer.  Luckily, the cancer was stage II, so he was not in immediate danger of dying. 

George thought hard about his life.  He realized that he spent far too much effort on gaining wealth that he would never enjoy, instead of supporting his family and friends.  His brother Richard did not focus most of the life on work.  Richard did not have the wealth that George earned, but Richard did support family and friends with his time and support.  George realized that Richard had developed so much more in life than George had, and Richard gained so much in life from spending time and resources on his family and friends. 

George was fortunate because the medical support staff could treat his cancer and extend his life for many more years.  George immediately changed his life.  He sold his company and spent his time with family, friends, and support causes for people in need.  He met with his pastor and worked on a plan to spend time helping people in his community.  George felt so blessed that he was given time to accomplish important things in his life far beyond wealth.

It is important for us to work and earn income to support our families, but we must be careful not to make wealth our goal.  Of course, we need to earn a living to support our family and friends; we must be careful not to make earning money to overall goal.  Earning money is an important part of supporting a high-quality life, but it should never be the overall objective.  Wealth is a resource, not a driving force in one’s life.

Published by Jim Brandt

Jim Brandt was an all-conference college football player and served as a Marine Corps pilot during the Vietnam War. He also started a software company and served as an executive for the fifth-largest bank in the United States. Brandt won the Democratic party nomination for Congress twice. He is married and has three children.