On becoming rich: ill-gotten wealth

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

This is the second part of the four-parts series On becoming rich.

Being rich, or possessing wealth, is defined differently from one person to another. Irregardless of your definition, we understand that it is within the context of abundance. For the whole series, we will talk about the following:

  • basic principles of becoming rich
  • ill-gotten wealth
  • deceit of wealth
  • real source of wealth

In this article, we will discuss that aside from the fair means of gaining wealth, some people choose to obtain them through other means just to get ahead.

Ill-gotten wealth

Aside from working hard and planning, some people get through shortcuts just to get ahead. Some people obtain their wealth through fraud.

1. Fraud.

Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but he who gathers gradually by [honest] labor will increase [his riches].
Proverbs 13:11 AMP

What is fraud? It is defined by Merriam-Webster as an intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right. So what’s at play here is that fraudulent people only think about their personal gain. Amazing how people could stoop this low just to obtain wealth. But wealth obtained this way does not last (Proverbs 13:11). What does is wealth obtained from gradual but honest labor.

2. Get-rich-quick schemes.

Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.
Proverbs 13:11 NLT

From a different version of Proverbs 13:11, fraud is expressed as a get-rich-quick scheme. If they can be interchanged, it can be said that everyone who participates in get-rich-quick schemes also think only about their personal gain. What’s in it for me? Proverbs is clear when it says that wealth from such schemes quickly disappears (Proverbs 13:11). Knowing this, we must have the wisdom not to join the next get-rich-quick schemes when it does happen. So what kind of wealth grows overtime? It is the wealth from hard work!

3. Bribery.

Another means some people participate into is bribery, an act of receiving a bribe. According to Merriam-Webster, bribe is a money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust. And since a bribe is meant to influence the judgement of somebody, most likely the motive is for that person to do wrong.

He who profits illicitly troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live.
Proverbs 15:27 NASB

Greedy people bring trouble to their families, but the person who can’t be paid to do wrong will live.
Proverbs 15:27 NCV

With the NASB and NCV versions juxtaposed, a person who accepts bribes is also a person who allows himself to be paid to do wrong. Notice the terms hate bribes and who can’t be paid to do wrong. If someone hates accepting bribes and stands firm not to accept bribes, it only means that such person chose and decided to make a stand on bribery. It’s a choice someone decides for himself. Proverbs 15:27 is also clear that bribery is an illicit way of making a profit and that people who choose to be bribed are greedy people. People can always justify themselves but there is a warning that lingers about bribery. If you accept (keep accepting) bribes and allow yourself to be paid to do wrong, not only will it bring trouble to your families but it will eventually cost you your life.

On the other side of the matter, why do people bribe people of influence or position of trust?

A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; Wherever he turns, he prospers.
Proverbs 17:8 NASB

Because these people think that bribery smooths their way in getting what they want, and such ability is what makes bribery so attractive (Proverbs 17:8).

Some people think they can pay others to do anything they ask. They think it will work every time.
Proverbs 17:8 NCV

However, trusting on bribery to always get what you want doesn’t work every time (Proverbs 17:8). It might bring you at an advantage now but in the end, a bribe will work against your favor.

Wrap Up

  • Fraud. Fraudulent people only think about their personal gain and wealth obtained this way does not last (Proverbs 13:11).
  • Get-rich-quick schemes. The kind of wealth grows overtime is that from hard work and not from get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Bribery. Bribery is a trap for the person who does it and a death sentence for the one who allows oneself to be bribed.

Here’s a short video (begin in 00:31) to remind you how true wealth grows.

Now, you have learned about ill-gotten wealth and how fleeting their assumed benefits are. For the next article in the series, we will discuss about how the state of abundance can deceive us and change our perception about ourselves.


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