True Riches

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” Mark 9:35 NIV

Hollywood glamorizes a luxurious and rich lifestyle. I see youtube videos advertised all the time that talk about manifesting money and whatever you want through meditation. The earth is God’s and everything in it (1 Corinthians 10:26). Of course in this world we need to have food, clothes, shelter and otherwise but God has promised to provide that (Matthew 5:25-26). Our primary concern needs to be, “how can I please God today?”

In Jeremiah 9:23-24 the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me,that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight…” (NIV)

Wealth does not elevate anyone to God’s level. Humility brings us closer to God. John 3:27 says that “a man can receive nothing unless its been given to him from heaven.” If we seek to please God we will have our needs met. Matthew 6:25-26 says,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (NIV)

We need to start realizing that God’s love is precious. He is life. He is beauty. He is abundance. He is intelligence. The love of the world offers only lust and pride. God offers peace, protection, guidance, healing, love, serenity, a sound mind. He offers a living relationship with the God of the universe. What are humans even doing on this planet to try and replace God with wealth? To be great in God’s presence we have to be servants. Worldly greatness doesn’t impress God because He knows what’s underneath all that wealth – a trembling piece of flesh. We all are vulnerable and very small compared to God. Wealth can’t help you if you don’t have a sound body and mind to enjoy it with. Proverbs 11:4 says that “wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” However, “the blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it,” (Proverbs 10:22 NIV).

But what good is wealth if you don’t honor God and help others with it? You should use your money to gain friends and win others to the faith. Solomon was a man with great wealth. He wrote in Ecclesiastes,

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth’For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’ This too is meaningless— a miserable business!” (Ecclesiastes 4:8 NIV)

I used to be very materialistic. I didn’t think anything about dropping one hundred dollars in a day on clothes. I wanted badly to impress people. I didn’t think much of money, to be honest. I was very wasteful. God didn’t like it. I was spending more time shopping than I was working or even studying. After about three years living like I was wealthy, God brought me down a notch. I lost my job, my license and my sanity. In our town, if you don’t have a car or a license you cannot work because there isn’t much for public transportation. Without a job, license or car I was stuck in poverty for about ten years. Every month, after paying bills I had about $50 left over to buy food with. It wasn’t easy, but God sustained me during that time and taught me how to trust Him.

James 2:5-7 talks about those in poverty inheriting the kingdom. It says:

“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?”

Matthew 5:5 quotes Jesus as saying, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” When you serve others you please God. The world doesn’t offer much congratulations when you work in food service, trash disposal, caregiving, lawn maintenance, and other service professions. They are hard and dirty jobs that few people are willing to do. But God notices that we are swallowing our pride when we take a lower position in the world and he will exalt us in His kingdom. Don’t be discouraged. God sees your service to others and will reward you. The professions I listed were just ones that I thought of and not necessarily a comprehensive list.