I was sitting here just thinking about how foolish it is to trust in wealth. Especially for us Christians who have God’s Word to guide us in all areas of life. Larry Burkett once said, “It is clear from God’s Word that affluence presents the greatest threat to our walk with the Lord”.
Psalms 49:10-12 reads:
For he sees that even wise men die;
The stupid and the senseless alike perish
And leave their wealth to others.
Their inner thought is that their houses are forever
And their dwelling places to all generations;
They have called their lands after their own names.
But man in his pomp will not endure;
He is like the beasts that perish.
Proverbs 11:4 tells us:
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
Proverbs 11:28 states:
He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.
These verses – along with a myriad of others – make it clear that wealth does nothing to gain favor in the sight of God, and even the “favor” that we gain with men is short-lived. Our goals and plans in life should not revolve around money or prosperity. On this very topic Christ gives the following instructions:
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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21
God promises to supply our needs if we only focus on His Kingdom and His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33). God gives us the ability, strength and intellect to be able to support ourselves and also makes provisions for those for a physically unable to do so (cf 1Timothy 5:3-16). We are to be good stewards of the money and possessions that God has given to us and seek to be a blessing to God’s Kingdom (on His terms).
So what should our attitude be towards money and wealth? The Apostle Paul puts it this way:
But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-10
In light of what we’ve seen today – and we’ve just scratched the surface on this topic – a fair question would be, “What is God’s view of people who are wealthy?”, or “Are they commanded to sell all they have and give it to the poor (like the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19:16-23)?” Here are God’s instructions to the rich:
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. ~ 1 Timothy 6:17-19
So while it is difficult for a born-again believer who is rich in the things of the world to be devoted to God, it is not impossible. Our socio-economic standing must be subjected to Christ just like everything else in our lives.
Be sure to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” where we have imperishable crowns (1 Corinthians 9:25; James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:19), a dwelling place prepared especially for us by Christ Himself (John 14:2-3), and a reward for all of our work on earth for God’s Kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
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