Proverbs 23:4-5 (ESV)
4 Do not toil to acquire wealth;
be discerning enough to desist.
5 When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
for suddenly it sprouts wings,
flying like an eagle toward heaven.
How can a town of 15,000 people disappear within 3 years? Is that even possible?
Here is a story of a city named Pithole. Quite unusual, isn't it? I can't even imagine who would like to live in a town with such a name, but exist it did, in 1865, in the midst of the Alleghany National Forest in North-Eastern Pennsylvania.
It all started with the discovery of oil, precious oil. Not for automobile fuel, as cars didn't exist back then, but oil that could be used to light homes. Soon thousands of people, all seeking a get-rich-quick scheme, moved to Pithole.
The town was quickly built up to cater to the needs of 15,000 people. Hotels (over fifty of them!), shops, banks, bars, drug stores and even a post office, a theater, and a prison quickly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. And even more were planning to move there, all in the name of the almighty buck!
However nothing lasts forever and that oil ran out quickly. Without oil, the town couldn't sustain itself, and within three years, Pithole was little more than a ghost town, with only a few die-hards who were persistent enough to try to coax oil from those dry fields.
In 1878 the land that had once been valued at two million dollars was sold to Venango County Commissioners for the meager sum of $4.37. There are no buildings remaining on the town site now, and nature has completely taken over the exploits of men. Only relics of the past still remains, like rusting machinery.
The same thing can happen to any of us. Some of us think that credit cards are the answer to all of our problems: I am rich! But sooner or later we will have to pay it all back, with hefty interest.
There is no security in earthly possessions. This is why Jesus encouraged all of us: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:19-21)
Dear Lord, help us have our eyes on the treasures of heaven. Help our focus not be on the treasures of this earth but instead how we can use them to further Your Gospel. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.