No sooner had I begun reflecting on different religions' grappling with "the right use of riches" than Oglethorpe Museum of Art announced the arrival from the Rubin Museum of Art of a few works depicting Tibet's "wealth-creating deities," which have heretofore been omitted from exhibitions emphasizing the Buddhist tradition of detachment and renunciation.
"In the Himalayan tradition of Tantric Buddhism, there is a class of deities dedicated to granting and guarding wealth. This divine category appears contradictory, coming from a belief system that is identified with nonattachment to material well-being. Nonetheless, it is justified by the belief that wealth can provide freedom from the cares of human life that divert us from finding a path to liberation from suffering. In the hands of one who seeks enlightenment, wealth may become an instrument of compassion and a means to achieve spiritual goals."
There are more secular traditions that have asserted similar things with regard to any goal whatsoever; I recall one hardscrabble thinker who asserted that the familiar saying "Money is the root of all evil" should be modified to "The lack of money is the root of many ills."
The more general maxim is that when you're up to your ass in alligators, it's hard to remember you came to drain the swamp.
And the traditions are down on grasping in general; but that is another story, and another genre of artwork.