Wealth is a Trap; The Wise Put Their Trust in God.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Warning of Wealth
To those whom God has seen fit to provide much, much is required. The provision of great wealth can cause people to being to trust in it rather than in God. Their wealth is what they turn to when they have problems in life. And wealth CAN extricate a person from many issues in this world. Indeed, most people who have wealth trust not in God but in the security that they are well provided for. Jesus said:
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Since God owns all of the silver and the gold, as well as the Earth, and everything in it and on it, He is able to provide for our every physical need as well as our spiritual and emotional needs. The wealthy need to be careful to remember where their wealth truly comes from, lest they forget and attribute themselves as the source.
Sharing is Caring
God has trusted much with the wealthy, but with great privilege comes great responsibility:
But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Since everything belongs to God, we are merely stewards of it. And the rich have been blessed greatly by God with material wealth. They must judiciously use it to further the Kingdom of God, rather than to merely spend it on their own pleasures.
You can only do three things with wealth:
- You can save it (or grow it into greater wealth)
- You can spend it
- You can give it away
In this passage, God indicates that part of the responsibility of wealth it to give it away. The steward entrusted with wealth is required to be seeking God with all their heart to know what God’s will is for His wealth. Whether it be charities, ministries, the indigent, or whatever God places upon their hearts, they are to be faithful in managing and administering the wealth entrusted to them.
When we are obedient to God, we are assured that we are laying up treasure in Heaven rather than treasure here on Earth, where moths and rust destroy. For where our treasure is, there also is our heart. Those who have been provided much must seek God for direction in how to manage what they have been provided. ALL of us must do this, but the ones who have been provided much have a greater burden upon them for their increased responsibilities given to them by God.
Many people have said that they would not mind being given that kind of responsibility. However, are they able to manage the little God has provided to them? If not, what would they do with that much more responsibility and wealth? We are each given what we are able to manage. If we are faithful with little, we will be faithful with much. Indeed, we should turn our attention to the giver of the gifts rather than the gifts themselves. And pray for the rich, for they need much help to be put all things in balance.
A Qualifying Question
So let’s ask ourselves a question: Are we being faithful with what little we have been entrusted with?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are the giver of all good gifts. Thank You for providing me with what I have. Give me direction, strength, and ability to manage all that has been provided so that it honors and glorifies You. Help me to be free from envy when I have little, and to be free from pride when I have much. You own everything, and I am merely a steward of it. All that has been provided to me I dedicate to You for Your purposes. Direct my paths and guide my ways that the outcome would be fruitful. This I ask and pray in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?