A person on an average wage would take 8-9 years to earn that amount but Micah Richards was paid that in one month when he was a young Premier League footballer. In a recent interview he said “I remember one pay packet was like 250 grand for a month . . . I went straight out and bought myself a Ferrari. I already had a Range Rover and an Aston Martin, but I thought, 'It's time'. I bought myself a Ferrari, an F430. Then a 458 Speciale . . . I bought this £3 million, seven-bedroom house and I was living with two brothers, two cousins, my best mate. Where I was living was already more than enough, but this is what happens when you're a footballer.”
However, some enlightening comments came in his next few sentences.
“It's always, 'Who has the best house? Who has the best car?'. You can never just be content. You've always got to want more.”
Through examining his words we can see that Richard’s self-worth came from comparing himself to others. He was never content, no matter how many possessions he had.
Although he had far more disposable income than most of us can even think about, the experience of Micah Richards is one that would have resonated with many through the centuries. It may be your present experience, and if it is you are not alone.
About 3,000 years ago Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. This elderly king was reflecting on a life lived “under the sun” (1:3). By this phrase he meant a life lived from an earthbound point of view without reference to God, separated from Him.
In chapter two of Ecclesiastes we get a taste of all that Solomon experienced as he chased after satisfaction and contentment. He pursued leisure (v.1), laughter (vv.2-3), bigger and better buildings (vv.4-6), servants to serve him (v.7a), visibility of wealth (v.7b), gold and silver (v.8a), musical entertainment (v.8b) and mistresses (v.8c). Even though he lived many millennia ago these are the kinds of things people still pursue in their quest for contentment and satisfaction.
Solomon summarised his pursuit of these things in a few sentences:
“Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labour; and this was my reward from all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labour in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11).
Solomon realised that although there are many pleasures we can legitimately enjoy they will never bring contentment and satisfaction. Even the good things in life are not meant to be man’s goal.
The end of Solomon’s book highlights not what but whom we should pursue in life.
“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1a).
“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13b).
When we live a life separated from God and not in subjection to Him, we will never find the true purpose for which we are created and the satisfaction God desires us to have. True satisfaction and contentment will be found not in the good gifts but in the giver of all good gifts.
Some 1600 years ago a man called Augustine said this to God,
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
His statement, which some people believe to be the greatest sentence ever written outside of the Bible, really summarises biblical truth.
There is an objective fact about God creating mankind to enjoy Him and a subjective fact that there will be no true rest and enjoyment until an individual finds his rest in God.
Augustine found that trusting Jesus and confessing Him as Lord put his desires in the right order. Only when he was at peace with the Giver of all good gifts could he truly enjoy those gifts, for their purpose is to point us to the Giver we long for.
True rest and satisfaction are only found in God, who created us for Himself. To rest in God is to receive the gift of salvation freely offered to us in Jesus Christ, and then to entrust our lives to Him. Until we do that, all the money in the world will not bring us the peace and satisfaction that our souls desire.