It is normal for human beings, perhaps with the exception by choice, of priests, nuns and other religious people, to aspire to be rich in money and property because the richer a man becomes, he can have all the conveniences of life and live comfortably, which is a good and reasonable dream of every man. Towards this end, many keep themselves busy working literally day and night, retiring only to rest for a while, then repeat the same process day after day.
The wise King Solomon said:
“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have 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” (Prov. 23:4-5 NIV)
I have had a good lesson on this warning “do not wear yourself out to get rich”.
Graduating from high school at fourteen years old because I started my elementary grade at six years old and was accelerated from Grade IV to Grade V, and graduated High School at fourteen years old. However, my father was just a principal teacher in the Elementary level with nine children to support, so I had to stop going to college to give way to my older brother who was then on his third year in agricultural degree course at the Central Luzon Agricultural College (CLAC), now a University, with his promise that when he graduate and be employed, he would, in turn, support my studies in college.
Unfortunately, the call of love prematurely got my brother married during his fourth year, and although he was employed immediately after his graduation, he wrote our parents that he could no longer comply with his promise because his salary was just enough to support his family. Therefore, I had to stop for another year or a total of two years. On those years that I stopped going to school, I worked in our 13-hectare farm in Maniki, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, Philippines. I planted rice, corn, sugar cane and made sugar out of it; and I stripped abaca, then the prime agricultural product in Davao Province. Out of my savings, I took up vocational course of stenography and bookkeeping for six months in Davao City. By self-study, I became a fast typist—at sixty words per minute.
At the age of seventeen I was employed as stenographer-typist in the law office of Atty. Leopoldo M. Abellera, an awardee of an accolade “Lawyer of the Year” in Davao City, Philippines, during his time. My God-given extra-ordinary knowledge and skill in stenography and typewriting paved the way for my finishing my law degree. While working as stenographer-typist in the law office, I was also an instructor in Stenography in a local college where my boss was the President.
After three years, I resigned from the law office to join an American Company, the Koppel (Philippines), Inc., which was the distributor of bulldozers, caterpillar tractors, Skagit and other logging equipment and implements, logging being then the number one industry in Mindanao, Philippines. Because I had a substantial salary with fringe benefits, I supported the education of my six younger brothers and a sister. I also supported myself through college until I took the bar examination for lawyers and by God’s grace, successfully passed.
Immediately after passing the bar, I resigned my position in the company and engaged in the private practice of law, knowing from previous experience in the law office that I will earn more by private practice than just being employed. God was extremely gracious to me that out of my income, I was able to buy a lot within the City Poblacion on installment basis for five years where I was able to construct a modest multi-million home made of hollow blocks and well selected first class wooden building materials like narra, molave, tindalo, maggachapoy and dao which I gathered personally for seven years. In 1990, God allowed me to buy again on installment basis at five years, a 650 sq. meter lot in the heart of the city where I was able to build a two-storey fully concrete law office and commercial building also worth multi-million.
It was extremely hard work and sacrifice for me to be able to accomplish the above projects. I literally wore myself out to get “rich” but unfortunately in the early dawn of July 7, 2014, our residence was burned—turning all my efforts into smoke and ashes in a few minutes. And my dozen Stateside shoes – Florshiem and European shoes – Bally made in Italy – two pairs of Korean sandal – shoes I love so well, a dozen shoes all turned into ashes. But praise God, immediately with the blessing of God through my friends in Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, Davao City Chapter, clients, and our daughter Vilma NP Nurse in California U.S.A., ten of my shoes were restored except the Bally shoes, and the two Korean genuine leather sandal – shoes, but again praise God, when I informed my Korean client what happened to the shoes he gave me, he committed to replace them when he comes back to the Philippines. God is indeed good. Indeed, King Solomon rightly said it, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich…for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle”.
The great Apostle Paul gave this advice:
“6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 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 Tim. 6:6-10 NIV)
And charged his disciple Timothy and to all who are disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ:
“11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see…” (1 Tim 6:11-16 NIV)
and Paul further admonished:
“17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19 NIV)
Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart” (Job 1:21 NIV). The Apostle Paul reiterated this when he said, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Tim. 6:7 NIV).
So, what should be our attitude in life toward material riches? King Solomon has an answer. He said:
“Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me; lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Prov. 30:8-9 KJV).
Remember, the Bible says “don’t wear yourself out to get rich”, so, if by God’s providence and grace through diligence and hard work, (but not wearing out) you become one, Praise God, for the Bible also says, “Beloved, I wish above all things, that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3rd John: 2 KJV). Stated differently God wants us to prosper materially, physically and spiritually. Thus, our God is always good all the time. The best is yet to come.