Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. (1 Tim. 6:17)

In the 1920s, a group of the world’s most successful financiers met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. The following were present: the president of the largest utility company, the greatest wheat speculator, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, a member of the president’s cabinet, the greatest “bear” on Wall Street, the president of the Bank of International Settlements, and the head of the world’s greatest monopoly. Collectively, these tycoons controlled more wealth than there was in the US Treasury. For years newspapers had been printing their success stories and urging the youth of the nation to follow their examples.

God, however, knows that true happiness can never come through worldly “success.” Consider the fate of the men who met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Charles Schwab lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life and died broke. The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cutten, died abroad, insolvent. The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, served a term in Sing Sing Prison. The member of the president’s cabinet, Albert Fall, would also be sent to prison. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, Jesse Livermore; the president of the Bank of International Settlements, Leon Fraser; and the head of the world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Drueger, all committed suicide.

These men all amassed plenty to live with yet had nothing to live for.

Confess where the flimsy paper that is money has become the foundation in your life.

Mark J. Musser is a pastor at Trinity Wesleyan Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife and teenage son.