Ed Sheeran is reputedly the biggest male pop artist in the world.
His songs occupy nine of the top ten places in the U.K. singles chart, while he is estimated to have earned £26.78 million last year alone. As a result, the 26-year-old has learned some harsh lessons lately.
The first is about the fickleness of friends. Ed used his new-found wealth to show his gratitude to his family, while buying the inevitable sports car and new house for himself. But he has discovered that some friends have come to regard him as a walking ATM. Out a club one evening with a couple of friends, they ran up a bar bill of about £700. Ed, the multi-millionaire, attended to that. But a telephone call from the barman the next morning informed him that his friends had later returned to the club, and racked up a further £600 bill, which they very generously said that Ed would pay. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
That experience highlights a second truth that folk only discover too late; that wealth brings its own peculiar problems. It takes a steady hand to carry a full cup, and the Bible speaks of the dangers attendant on the ‘narrowing lust for gold.’
The preacher whose views are recorded in the Book of Ecclesiastes warned that ‘whoever loves money never has enough money’(5;10), and that the possession of wealth brings further burdens. ‘As good increase, so do those who consume them’(5;11), suggests that there will always be those who expect favours from a wealthy man. There is a quip about one family which had a large lottery win. The youngest member of the family asked, ‘But what shall we do about the begging letters?’. He was met with the response, ‘We’ll keep sending them.’
Besides, money worries -either the absence of it or an abundance of it - robs an individual of carefree sleep. ‘The abundance of a rich man permits no sleep’(5:12). The apostle Paul was aware of these dangers, warning ‘the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil’ (1 Timothy 6:10). Endowed with a keen intellect and educational privileges, Paul could have lived a comfortable life as a Jewish rabbi. But he scorned such privileges, considering them worthless compared with the privilege of knowing and serving Christ (Philippians 3;7-9). He reached a tranquillity we should all aspire to: ‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,’(Philippians 411).