Proverbs 21:17, “Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.”

Pain good, pleasure bad.  Is that what King Solomon means here?  Ofcourse not.  The idea he is trying to convey is that if you are “obsessed” with pleasure you will become poor.  And if you’re consumed with wine and olive oil you will never be rich.

Now are there rich people today who are obsessed with pleasure, drinking, and fine food?  Yes.  But will they stay that way?  Probably not.  Pleasures by themselves are not inherently bad but if they consume your life they will cost you all your riches.

When I read this proverb a person like Dennis Rodman comes to mind.  He was a famous basketball player for the Chicago Bulls, won five NBA championships and was inducted into the hall of fame.  He made tens of millions of dollars, however, today he is broke and in debt because of his love for pleasure (mainly alcohol).

Though he is an extreme example, I see the same kind of thing happen with “average Joe’s.”  Some people will work hard and earn $50,000 a year, however, because they love pleasure- nice clothes, expensive cars, extravagant vacations, and five star restaurants they spend $70,000 a year.  As a result, they can never become rich (have more than enough) because the extra $20,000 is put on their credit cards and second mortgages.

Therefore, if you want to be rich in life and have more than enough you must learn to say no to certain pleasures at certain times.  Don’t let your desires control your life, control your desires.  In turn, don’t let pleasures guide your life, be guided by good principles- such as budgets, family, and future savings.


Are you guided by principles or pleasures?


  1. Think about three pleasures you enjoy.
  2. Are you able to control your cravings for those pleasures?
  3. To avoid being controlled by pleasures ask God to give you good principles to live by.