“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; be wise enough to desist.” — Proverbs 23:4
I don’t go out to the movies much. Tickets have gotten pretty expensive, and for the most part I am okay practicing patience and waiting for the movie du jour to come out on DVD in six or eight months. Consequently, I sometimes miss some big cultural phenomena. For instance, December 2017 saw a movie come out that has just recently, a whole year later, burrowed its way into the hearts and minds of just about everyone in my house.
And normally I won’t make entertainment recommendations, but if you are behind the curve like I was, I think you should go and watch this instant classic as soon as you can. I am speaking of the movie “The Greatest Showman.” This cinematic beauty stars Hugh Jackman as (a fictionalized and reimagined) P.T. Barnum, and has some of the best music to come out of a Hollywood musical in a long, long time. Every song has a fantastic message, and combined with the idealized telling of the circus’ beginnings, will grip you right in the heart.
It is no exaggeration to say that during every waking hour in our home these days, someone is either singing, humming, tapping their foot to the beat of, or flat out playing the sound track from the musical. (I’m pretty sure there is a month of sermons from the music alone.)
One song stands out for me, though, as I ponder Proverbs 23:4. There is a singer in the movie who comes to America for a singing tour, promoted by and enriching Barnum. The song she sings is called “Never Enough” and it is rather pointed, as the thrust of Barnum’s life in the movie is always about any success never being enough: what starts as a hopeful attempt to provide for his family becomes a relentless pursuit of more money, a bigger house, a more famous name, and grander successes (to flaunt in the faces of disapproving aristocrat in-laws). The chorus says:
“All the shine of a thousand spotlights, all the stars we steal from the night sky, will never be enough, never be enough. Towers of gold are still too little; these hands could hold the world, but it’ll never be enough, never be enough, for me.”
The writer of Proverbs is encouraging us to realize that if we are chasing riches, it will never be enough. The wise know this; they don’t chase after wealth because it will never be enough. When we get what we think we want, we see something else to strive for. There is no rest; there is no peace, only pursuit of that which will never satisfy as much as a simpler life full of love and family and faith would.
Consider what it is that you are chasing, and honestly answer the question: “When will it be enough?” and more than that, “Will it be worth the price you have to pay to attain it?”
This is me,