THOUGH Solomon was fabulously wealthy, he knew that riches have their limitations. He recognized that a materialistic way of life does not unlock the door to happiness. He wrote: “A mere lover of silver will not be satisfied with silver, neither any lover of wealth with income.”-Ecclesiastes 5:10.

Suppose a wealthy person obtains even greater wealth. Solomon says: “When good things become many, those eating them certainly become many.” (Ecclesiastes 5:11) As a person’s “good things,” or possessions, increase, more people are needed to care for them. Repairmen, caretakers, servants, security people, and others-all must be paid for their services. In turn, this requires ever more money.

Such a situation has a direct bearing on a person’s happiness. The Greek historian Xenophon, who lived in the fourth century B.C.E., wrote down the comments of a poor man who had become rich:

“Why, do you actually suppose . . . that the more I own, the more happily I live? You are not aware,” he went on, “that it gives me not one whit more pleasure to eat and drink and sleep now than it did when I was poor. My only gain from having so much is that I am obliged to take care of more, distribute more to others, and have the trouble of looking after more than I used to have. For now many domestics look to me for food, many for drink, and many for clothes, while some need doctors; and one comes to me with a tale about sheep attacked by wolves, or of oxen killed by falling over a precipice, or to say that some disease has broken out among the cattle. And so it looks to me . . . as if I had more trouble now through possessing much than I used to have from possessing little.”

Another reason why people pursue ever more wealth is that they are beguiled by what Jesus Christ called “the deceptive power of riches.” (Matthew 13:22) They are deceived because in these riches that they so ardently seek, they never find the satisfaction or happiness they expected to find. They reason that what limited wealth fails to do, greater wealth will do. So there is a constant striving for more.