Get Rich Quick: What Does the Bible Say?

Lottery Ticket

Go ahead, admit it.  You’ve thought about playing the lottery before.  Maybe you’ve even played it during one of those $300+ million jackpot frenzies.  Or perhaps you are a regular customer of the game.  No matter the frequency of your playing habits (or lack thereof), at some point many of us have thought about what it would be like to come into millions of dollars instantly or unexpectedly. Even if it was just a dollar, what drives and excites us somewhere deep down is the hope and possibility that maybe this time we just might win.

Gambling: Slippery Slope!

To be perfectly honest, the above description hits really close to home for me.  I come from a pretty long line of  “addictive personalities”, with gambling (among others) being the addiction of choice and I know all too well what it feels like to want to get rich quick.

When I was 19, I worked at a restaurant waiting tables and I’ll never forget the night that God showed me how slippery that slope could be.  I made $70 during my shift and, while driving home, I stopped at a gas station and went inside to get something to drink.  As I got to the counter, the roll of instant scratch-off lottery tickets caught my eye.  One in particular cost $10 and boasted high odds of winning – how could I resist?  A rush of endorphins and excitement flooded over me as I laid down $10 and scratched off the first ticket.  I didn’t win, so I scratched off another one . . . with the same result.  Now I was $20 down, but that was a small price to pay knowing that the $100,000 prize within reach.  So I scratched a third, then a fourth, and finally a fifth ticket.

By the time I was done, I ended up wasting $50 before a sick feeling in my stomach told me that I just blew nearly every dollar that I made that night.  I worked eight hours for something that only lasted three minutes.  It was all because of a feeling inside . . . a compulsion to satisfy the need to win and the “hope” that I might be rich because of it.  Because of my heart’s desire for instant riches, I had deceived myself into absolutely believing that I was going to win.  In my state, the odds to win the lottery’s jackpot are 1 in 175,711,536.  Like Jim Carrey’s famous quote in the movie “Dumb and Dumber”, the drive to win had me boldly exclaiming against insurmountable odds, “So you’re saying there’s a chance!”  It’s ridiculous, but statistics show that there are millions of people that feel the same way.  Week after week, countless numbers of people spend their hard-earned money trying to find ways to become overnight millionaires, chasing after something that many feel would be the solution to all of their problems.

Lesson Learned: Stay Away from Get Rich Quick

As a follower of Christ, it’s pretty obvious that the choice to waste my money on lottery tickets that night wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had.  Although it was a relatively “cheap” lesson to learn in the grand scheme of things, it taught me one thing: I need to stay away from all attempts to get rich quick.  I selfishly wasted what God had blessed me with in the pursuit of what I thought would satisfy me at the time.

What the Bible Says

So what does the Bible say?  Does God condone anywhere that we should have that mentality or that it’s even okay?  Are there any places in Scripture where God reveals His heart on the topic of getting rich quick and the drive to accumulate massive amounts of wealth over a very short period of time from things such as playing the lottery, entering a sweepstakes, or joining any venture that promises lots of money with little or no work or time invested?  The answer is yes and, as we will see, the root of the issue lies within the attitude and motivation of our hearts.

1. Proverbs 12:11“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.”

Contrasted here are two types of people: those who work hard and those who follow “worthless pursuits” (i.e. – get rich quick schemes, dishonest gain, etc..).  One earns their money by diligently working with what God has entrusted to them.  The other is void of understanding and will do whatever it takes to get things the quick and easy way.  The latter, in contrast to the former, will end up hungry and become a burden on others because of his worthless pursuits. (A very similar verse to this is Proverbs 28:19-20)

2. Proverbs 13:11“Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.”

The ESV Study Bible describes this verse perfectly.  It says, “The person who receives sudden wealth has not worked for it enough to understand its value and has not gained sufficient skill in managing it. By contrast, Proverbs prefers diligent, patient, careful labor that will increase wealth over time.”

3. Proverbs 20:21“An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.”

The principle here is that too much wealth gathered too quickly may be spent too soon.  This could be from an early inheritance that was gained by asking for it or by dishonest means.  Either way, it was not gained in the proper way, which can lead to reckless spending and mishandling due to irresponsibility.

4. Proverbs 23:4-5“Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.  When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle to heaven.”

Wealth is fleeting.  Be wise enough to know when enough is enough in regards to how many hours you spend working to build it.  Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich.  Spend your time on what matters most rather than chasing after money, which flies away very quickly.

5. Ecclesiastes 5:10“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this is also vanity.”

For those who seek after riches and gaining them quickly, their appetite will never be satisfied.  The root of these desires is greed and the pursuit for more will never end.  The cure for this type of heart condition is contentment in what you have and what you have worked for.

6. 1 Timothy 6:9“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

Insert my story here.  Behind my journey into the scratch-off world was the desire to be rich and it led to my falling into the temptation to spend anything at that moment to get what I wanted.  Note that this verse is not condemning being rich, rather it details the desire and pursuit of such, which can steer your heart in directions you may never have thought possible.

It’s safe to say that this list of Bible verses is not exhaustive and there are certainly many more that speak on the topic of money.  These particular verses focus on the pursuit of riches, getting rich quick, and the desire to be rich beyond imagination.  One of my favorite verses on the attitude of our hearts toward getting rich quickly comes from Jesus in the gospel of Matthew.  He says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Simply put, your heart follows your treasure, not the other way around.  So, how do we store up for ourselves treasures in heaven?  What can we invest in that will last for eternity or have an eternal impact?  The answer is obvious and it is not money.  The answer is people.  The people around us are life’s greatest investments (neighbors, family members, kids, spouses, coworkers, etc…).  Here are three simple questions you can ask yourself to help reveal how you’re doing on this one:

  1. What (or whom) are you invested in?
  2. What (or whom) do you make time for?
  3. What do you spend your money on?

The simple truth is that, one-day, we will all have to liquidate our assets anyway!  So we might as well release them to the One who gave us those resources in the first place.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t plan . . . it just means that we live intentional lives of purpose focused and directed on building up people, not pocketbooks.  Instead of trying to get rich, let’s seek to invest our lives in others by being rich . . . in love and generosity toward God and others!

Have you ever tried to “get rich quick” or know anyone who has?  How did it turn out?  Meet me in the comments and share your thoughts!













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24 Comments
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  1. Brian Krull

    Nice work Brother. I think I should stash a copy of this article with my casino Player’s Club cards.

  2. Alicia Keller

    I have several personal experiences on this topic and would like to chime in. The first is the story of my ex-mother in law. She amd her brother both inherited over half a million dollars each from her uncle Bob because they were his only living relative. The money caused several issues: her and her brother didn’t agree on how the money should be spent and also all of her own children were arguing about them each wanting more and more money from her and who deserved it more. In the end, she ended up with a severe drinking problem, her kids aren’t speaking to each other, she spent all of the money AND went into debt.

    Also, a friend of mine started working for a company called CRS in Las Vegas and apparently you sell little Eco systems where you breed worms that eat trash and when you get enough, you sell them to landfills. I watched Gary and his wife pick up and move to Nevada and have all the riches they bet dreamed of, until the day the IRS and the FTC came knocking on the door. Margaret and his wife currently live in Gary’s mother’s basement here in Michigan now. You can read the story here: http://www.happydranch.com/articles/Invest_in_Worm_Buy_Back_Opportunity.htm

    Definately a story I can relate to, good job Adam :)

    • Adam Simon

      Alicia,

      Thanks for sharing those stories that you’ve personally had experience with. I actually wanted to write those same types of scenarios into the article, but couldn’t because nobody would read it due to the length! It’s heart breaking to watch people lose everything they’ve “gained”. My family (grandparents) lost a business through gambling and mismanagement of money so I know how it feels. Thanks for your transparency and I pray that you get to share your message!

  3. Mike Turner

    Good job Adam GOD sees your working for him, thats a wonderful reward in its self!!!!!!

  4. Wonderful post… really brings perspective back into what life is all about. It’s easy to get carried away with the promise of riches only to drive your mind into further despair as you chase something that really isn’t worth it.

  5. What a wonderful reminder. In a world that continually wants to get rich quick, God’s word is plain and clear on honest, hard work and diligence being the key to true success; that is, success in His eyes.
    Well done!

  6. Exceptional Post – really enjoyed reading. I appreciate the emphasis on being rich toward people and our Lord and to forget getting rich in this world. This is real wealth and is where true joy is found.

    Also enjoyed the Dumb & Dumber quote. The post reminded me of another quote on why we should focus on storing up treasures in heaven and not on earth…

    “Life’s a fragile thing, Harr. One minute you’re chewin on a burger, and the next minute you’re dead meat.”

    • Adam Simon

      That’s a great one as well, Jason! Thanks for the thoughts and glad it encouraged you!

  7. OBONDI DARIUS

    Many of them have i seen get rich very fast through unfair means and all of a sudden,the riches disappears and becomes extreme poor and miserable to even their family.
    Wealth got through honesty means will never disappear but adds up to fill the cup to an overflow.
    Psalms 127 says that, the Children of the Lord will never struggle for wealth but feeds even when they are sleeping in their own beds,Amen.
    For i trust and believe in the Lord God,He will give me all that i need in order to Glorify Him.
    Thanks A lot.
    Amen.

  8. Lou Elen

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article on “Get Rich Quick”. Especially where you backed up what you were saying with scripture!

  9. I have wondered if scratch-offs are considered a sin& do they open the door for generational curses. One of my family members won, and sometimes she feels that everyone hates her.

  10. Great article, well researched, with personal experiences and confirmed by scriptures. Thank you.

  11. If all the money spent on lotteries was spent on spreading the gospel and assisting those in need, we’d live in a world that would glorify God immensely.

  12. Eddie Faamaile

    Awesome, awesome article! It had me stop and pray to God, reevaluating my priorities and motives dealing with money. Used to have a gambling problem, and after reading this, my decision to not gamble my money away has been fortified. Thank you so much Adam for sharing this! And thank you Jesus for steering me to come across this article. To God be the glory!

  13. Steve Ewangan

    very nice. i don’t like gambling but in your example, sometimes i’m tempted and fall to that scratch off lottery, we have a lot of that here in the philippines. thanks that i have the holy spirit help me to resist the temptation.. i worry about my brother, please help me pray for him. he spends a lot of time and money on gambling. at first he won a large amount that’s how he got into gambling but then slowly, i can sense that when he won, every time he will be betting he thinks that he will win but that is not the case he went into debt. his marriage collapsed because everything he earns goes to gambling even the money that was supposed to support his three children.. he sells everything just to have some thing to bet, he does not know how to resist. our family relations was broken. gambling goes with drinking and women. you will win but you’ll spend it with alcohol and women gambling is the center while alcohol and women surrounds it..the purpose of gambling is to have money and get rich quick, but it will quickly destroy you and you’ll never know it. Thank God for the discernment and the understanding that now i can resist. thank you Jesus. help me pray for my brothers salvation, oneday he will be saved. thank you.

  14. Great article! God bless you for sharing/posting godly advice on this topic of money which effects all people.

  15. Hi everybody.
    My Name is Mrs.Isabella, I was married to my husband for 10 years and we were both bless with three children, living together as one love, until last 2011 when things was no longer the way the was [when he lost his job]. But when he later gets a new job 6 months after, he stated sleeping outside our matrimonial home. Only for me to find out that he was having an affair with the lady that gave he the job. since that day, when I called him, he don’t longer pick up my calls and he nothing since to come out good. Yet my husbands just still keep on seeing the lady. Until I met a very good friend of my who was also having a similar problem, who introduced me to a very good love spell caster. But I told her that if it has to do with things that I am not interested, but she said that it has nothing to do with pay first. but the only thing he was ask to do was just to go and buy the items to cast the spell, and that was what she did. And she gave me the spell caster e-mail address and phone number. When I contacted him, I was so surprise when he said that if I have the faith that I will get my husband back in the nest three [3] day, and off which it was really so. but I was so shock, my husband was on his knells begging me and the children for forgiveness.. This man DR james is good and he is the author of my happiness. His e-mail address drjames897@yahoo.com.

  16. Dear Adam,

    You have no idea how much this article talks to me. This is really very close to my heart that is why I am very thankful to God to have received this straight to my email. However, I’ve got personal confusion. And I need enlightenment for the longest time now. My story will be lengthy so I hope you will have the patience to go through this.

    I am a 26 year old lad and I used to own a mid-size call center here in the Philippines. The reason why I had the business was one company closed down and a few people sought my help to provide them a job in our small city. You see, opportunity in a third world country is really limited despite the fact that you live in the city. At the time I have a job at a real estate firm. 

    God is so great and everything fell into the right place. Under my leadership sales soared high and we really have a strong demand from our clients in Canada. I then decided to quit my other job so I can focus on my business. I feel the need to be there so I can make sure that there is a sustain growth and of course improves operational management & technical processes. It all happen in the last 2 quarters of year 2010. We may have challenges along the way but we get to resolve it after a while. 

    I never had a problem with my foreign clients. Hence, I started training my team how to run things because I have a goal to give them career improvement as well. Maybe I taught what I know too much that they entertained a client without my knowledge, using company’s resources, and time that should have been dedicated for their work in the company. I was terribly frustrated. To cut the story short, I closed the company since I already have trust issues, liquidated the assets, and went into depression. 

    Never in my dream have I ever imagined I’ll be jobless. Now this is my confession to you. In our country we have a state run lottery agency  whose proceeds goes to charity.  But the jackpot is really a hefty amount if money. I have been praying to God to help me win the Jackpot for more than a year now and nothing happens. I know it may sound funny to others but I am just telling you the truth. 

    Trust me. I do not doubt that God has the ability to give this to me if He wills. But I want to know if this is even a right prayer to start up with. I need help. I am confused. 

    I am very eager to start again but I do not know how. It feels like I  all alone. In fact, tomorrow I need about 100kphp to settle my previous debt & I do not know where to even get it. I want to work again and have value in my family. 

    Please help me in my confusion. I need discernment. Is it the right prayer? Shall I wait for God’s answer or let it go and move on? If I move on how and where can i start? I need help. May God use you to speak to me. Now I am getting scared so please be gentle in speaking to me. :(

    Respectfully, 

    JM

  17. I have tried and tried to get rich, but I also want to be closer to the lord, so I read the get rich quick insert and found God wants you to work, to learn how to be wealthy little by little, instead of getting rich quick and not knowing what to do. I’m just gonna stay away from getting rich quick, because I think there’s no such thing as working from home. You can’t, it’s not reality!

  18. This was a very good article I stumbled upon while looking for the Scripture that specifically says not to seek out riches. Enjoyed this a lot! Thanks!

  19. Mark sanders

    One time I made $40,000.00 in the stock market in a matter if days, because of my greed for more I lost it 5 months later. Be happy with what you have, slow and steady wins the race.

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