“Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.” (Proverbs 28:6, NIV2)
Are the rich truly free of worry? Or is it possible they are a bit more distressed than most commoners like you and me?
Let’s think about it. Being rich is not easy at all. You have constant worry — about your possessions, your protection, your investments … It never ends! Imagine having to hire a multitude of personnel to guarantee a semi-quasi “peaceful” and less-stressful life! Lawyers, tax-consultants, insurance agents, investment advisers, body guards … This list could go on and on.
“Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!'” (Luke 18:24, NIV2)
When oil was found in Pithole, Pennsylvania, in 1865, it attracted a lot of people whose only goal was to get rich quick. But they soon realized there was a price tag attached to their dream. Equipment was costly, rent was costly, the parcel of “promised” land was costly, food was more costly in this neighbourhood than anywhere else, barrels were costly, and even the transport of oil barrels was costly.
It’s true that at first the transport fee was feasible: 1$ per barrel, which would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20$ in our day and age. But almost overnight the charge tripled to 3$ a barrel! Oh, there was a “good” reason behind the price increase: Carrying 360 pound barrels over steep, muddy trails shortened the lives of the horses and mules employed in this endeavour. And since they worked non-stop around the clock, they needed to be replaced regularly!
(Wait. What about the plight of these poor animals?)
Then came Samuel Van Syckel, who saw an opportunity to become rich by cutting the cost of transportation back to 1$ a barrel. And he wouldn’t need the help of donkeys or horses! Instead he built 5.5 miles of 2 inch wrought iron pipe, from Pithole to Oil Creek. In fact, he was the first one to successfully transport oil via a pipeline!
Until lengths of the pipe mysteriously were torn up in the dark, that is. It seems he had made some enemies with the rough, tough teamsters who ended with no more cargo or dying horses!
No problem, armed guards were hired to patrol the line.
And you can well imagine that this was not the end of the story. More complications were foreseen in the near future. We are talking about the mighty dollar after all!
Being rich isn’t really a piece of pecan pie (My favourite desert!). Furthermore, the rich still have to wonder, like any of us: “What can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:37, NIV2).
After all, money can buy neither peace nor happiness!
(To access the entire “Becoming Rich Without a Dime” devotional series, please click here.)