John G. Wendel was one of the wealthiest men in America in the early twentieth century, but he lived as if he were poor. Although he and his sisters had received a large inheritance, they spent little of it and hoarded as much of their wealth as they could. Five of Wendel’s six sisters never married, and they lived in the same house on New York’s Fifth Avenue for 50 years. When the last sister died in 1931, her holdings were valued at more than $100 million. Yet she owned only one dress, which she had made herself and worn for many years. Oddly, it was the Wendels’ desire for wealth that drove them to live like paupers.
Jesus gave a similar warning in His Sermon on the Mount. Those who pursue material wealth wind up missing out on the real treasure. Those who place their first priority on things other than wealth will find themselves blessed with all of the riches of their Father in heaven.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Jesus asks us to examine our hearts to determine where we have placed our ultimate trust—on earth or in heaven, in self or in God.