I read the paper in the mornings while I eat my breakfast. One of those one page ads stared back at me, all the famous people in black and white beckoning me to attend their wealth seminar. One of the seminars was called WHY GOD WANTS YOU TO BE WEALTHY.
I have much I could say about the topic. Things about the rich, young ruler walking away sad because he loved wealth more than obedience; how Jesus said the poor were blessed; how small that eye of the needle is, how narrow the path; how loving the poor means loving Jesus.
Instead I’ll camp here:
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Luke 16:10-13).
What are true riches? Those deeds that follow us to eternity. (Click to tweet) The folks we’ve shared Jesus with. The cup of water we’ve given to the thirsty. The child far away who we helped clothe and feed. The sacrifices we made for the sake of the Gospel. Those follow us to eternity. An eternal weight of glory, it’s called. But there are true riches to be found here on earth as well:
- A heart that forgives even when wronged 491 times
- A soul that’s broken, but in all the right ways
- A relationship with Jesus that is rich beyond measure
- A capacity to endure
- An ability to let God be the manager of reputation
- A wealthy prayer life
- A Job-like ability to rejoice in God even when He seems far off
- An abundance of soul
- A disdain for petty gossip, which has been replaced by a desire to bless others with encouraging words
- A longing for justice by God’s hands and not one’s own
If this is the wealth the nice smiling lady promises in her talks, then sign me up. I want that kind of wealth–both the ability to do works that count for eternity, and the hope for a changed, dynamic heart. (Click to tweet) That’s wealth. That’s biblical wealth.
How to get it? Re-read the Scripture above. Be faithful when no one sees. Tell the truth. Have integrity. Refuse to praise your glorious self, instead focusing on the One who made you. Manage your earthly wealth in such a way that makes God grin. Give it away. Don’t get entangled so much in the acquiring and managing of wealth that you walk the sorry road of the rich, young ruler. Be satisfied with your lot. Trust that God sees you. Rejoice when wealth eludes you. Yes, rejoice. Because life is more than stuff. People are more important than things. (Click to tweet)
It’s a narrow road, folks. A narrow one. And time is short. Why waste it by chasing things that will burn anyway? Why fritter away our lives on things that just don’t matter? Why neglect those who starve, those who bleed, those who suffer, while we whine about not having enough money to buy the next greatest thing? I am preaching to myself here. Please know that. I can allow money to occupy a worried mind. I can get tangled up in mammon.
Deliver us all, Lord. Deliver us.
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