The worldview says it is important to have money. Certainly living in the world without money is almost impossible especially in countries like The US. Money is a “necessary evil.” But from the world’s standpoint money is a measure of success, if not the measure of success. The world gauges their peace by how much money is in the bank and the IRA. It is not so in God’s Kingdom. Money is not what determines success or peace. Storing up money is not godly and moving heaven and earth to make more is not right from God’s perspective. Being rich is not a sin. The sin lies in the place money has in one’s heart and endeavors. Verses 1-3 read,
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.
These are the rich who have put money first, who have done whatever they can to make themselves rich. They have laid up money and left God out of the equation. They will enjoy their time on earth, but our time doesn’t end when our hearts stop beating and our lungs stop breathing. We live eternally. After this life we will either enjoy that eternity with Jesus in New Jerusalem or we will suffer the torment of Hell. The person who has put money first cannot serve God. The person who serves God understands this world and present life are temporary and live it in preparation for the real thing, eternity. She wants God’s will on earth as it is in Heaven. She wants people to know Jesus. She doesn’t lay up treasures here, she lays them up in Heaven. In Matthew 6:19-24 Jesus said,
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
If your eye, (your focus and perspective) is on money, earthly treasures and pleasures then it cannot be on God, His will and purpose. The wrong focus will blind you to the truth and you will not glorify God, it glorifies the self. Satan will be happy to make us richer and he will laugh as we walk blindly to Hell because our eye is on our bank account instead of The Lord. This life is temporary, it lasts 80 years. Do you imagine that 100 years from now or 100,000 years from now it will matter if you lived in a mansion and had servants? It won’t. It will matter how you treated the servants. It will matter how you loved or sinned against the people around you. It will matter how you lifted up or oppressed the people you came into contact with. It will matter if Jesus Christ is your Lord or money is your lord. Verses 4-6 read,
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
The rich who got that way through sin and oppression, who put money and their own comfort above God and love, they are enjoying all the luxury and comfort they will ever enjoy unless they open their eyes and weep over their sin and repent. Proverbs 16:5-9 reads,
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
7 When a man's ways please the Lord,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness
than great revenues with injustice.
9 The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
Many of the Proverbs were written by Solomon, one of the wealthiest men to have ever lived. People heard about his wealth and his wisdom and came from very far away to see it. Even the very wealthy Queen of Sheba was floored by his wisdom and prosperity (1 Kings 10:1-13). Being rich is not the sin; the sin is in what the money means to a person and how she obtained that wealth. True wealth is in the joy of a relationship with God. Real peace comes from righteousness. Proverbs 15:15-17 reads,
All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
Money cannot save us, regardless of how much we have. Are you living for The Day of The Lord or are you living for tomorrow? Proverbs 11:4 says,
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
The Proverbs have a great deal to say about money and how we should use it. Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us,
Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
There is a great deal more to be gleaned about money from the Bible. And I know I need to learn how the Lord wants me to think about it and use. For now I want us to consider where money is in our hearts. Is money on the throne? Do you seek money or do you seek the Kingdom of God? Chasing wealth leads to sin. 1 Timothy 6:3-10 reads,
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Are you asking what you are supposed to do about feeding and clothing your family if you don’t focus on money? Are you saying, “Donna, this world is expensive and I’ve got to eat! How do you expect me live if I don’t save up as much money as possible? How will I live when I’m 75 and can’t work?” Well, I say “Pursue God, have faith that He is God and nothing is impossible for Him.” In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus answered those questions.
“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.
27-29 “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (The Message).
Just keep your eyes on God and what He desires and He will take care of all the other stuff that could take your focus. When you do what is right with your money, when you are generous and lift up the poor instead of oppress them, God will ensure you have plenty of money to live on and to continue being generous. If you trust God enough to give generously, even more than you think you can afford, He will prove your faith and ensure you will always have enough to keep giving. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says it this way,
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
In fact your generosity spreads the Gospel because God’s love and your faith in Him are evident in the act of giving (2 Corinthians 9:10-15). Do you really trust God to be God or do you lean on your bank account in case He doesn’t come through? Stop trusting money and start trusting God. Stop serving your bank account, your earthly future, or your present comfort and be courageous enough to serve God.