When we speak of wealth, the immediate image that comes to our mind is that of: gold, silver and real estate. These are the tangible symbols of wealth that have stood the heavy and burdensome test of time.
In the Biblical narrative, wealth was also spoken of as something that one ‘displayed’. This encompassed the way that one dressed and presented oneself. The moth is an insect that is quite similar to a butterfly in many regards. Except, unlike the butterfly, the moth is known for ‘eating’ clothes and garments, thereby destroying them and their value.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.Matthew 6:19
The gospel draws our attention to the moth and the rust that can destroy or waste away one’s treasure. It speaks of the perishable treasures of this world that are susceptible to waste and greed. The deeper lesson is one of the folly and futility of vanity.
Are we spending an unnecessary amount of money to display wealth that we are better off investing or saving for a rainy day?
In the financial world, there is a difference between wealth that is perishable and wealth that is imperishable. Anything which can ‘consume’ one’s assets has a wider symbolic signification than just rust. It refers to the aspects of our wealth generation cycle that is perishable and susceptible to thievery, corruption and consumption.
Think about your own financial assets. Have they been eaten up by moths? If they have been, what have you been purchasing?
In the financial world, there are assets that stand the test of time and those that don’t. Fashions change and come and go. When you decide to splurge and indulge in buying a luxury good, what exactly is it that you’re paying for? Is it for show? It may well be.
The next time you decide to splurge, ask yourself–am I eating into my own wealth?