Tag Archives: riches

December 17

I Timothy 3-6

I’ve often said that if I ever win the lottery the first thing I’ll do is buy an ocean front home on my favorite Georgia island. If I ever win the lottery it’ll truly be a miracle. I’ve never bought a ticket.

So many people are looking for some kind of windfall. Maybe they spend thousands of dollars on the lottery or maybe they jump from job to job expecting the next one to be the one where they’ll bring in the big bucks. Some even compromise on what they know is right in order to get ahead. How much money is enough?

Paul said if he has food and clothing he is content. He makes it plain that godliness is not a means to financial gain and anyone who says it is has a corrupt mind. (6:5) “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”. (6:9&10)

The Bible tells us to do everything as though we were working for God. It’s not wrong to work hard and expect compensation for our effort. It’s not wrong to work for a promotion if God can be glorified in the effort. But what is your motivation?

In chapter 6 verse 11, Paul tells Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. I don’t see anywhere where it says to pursue a six figure income. Being rich is not a sin. But if riches are your focus – that is a sin.

Can you be content with having food and clothing? Can I? Let’s not forget that there are some people in our world who would consider themselves quite rich if they had warm clothes, a place to call home, and a full stomach. So just how rich are you?

Father, I pray that my priority will always be you. Thank you for blessing me with everything I need. Forgive me if I look with envy at those who live in those million dollar condos on the beach. I don’t ever want to seem ungrateful for all you have given me. May I pursue the things that matter – righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness, and eternity with you. And, Lord, show me how I can help others who have financial struggles and may you find me faithful.

June 7

I Kings 11; Ecclesiastes 1-2

The wisest, richest, most productive, and most popular king that ever lived hated life. But before we talk about how Solomon was feeling, let’s look at some of the choices he had made.

I Kings 11 tells us Solomon had a weakness. He loved women. He married 700 of them and had sex with 300 more. And instead of insisting that these women worship Solomon’s God, he allowed them to continue to worship their idols. 

I can almost hear a Moabite wife, whispering to Solomon in a private moment saying: If you really loved me you’d join me as I pray to Chemosh.

And gradually Solomon began to take part in the worship of these false Gods. Verse six says Solomon did evil in God’s sight.

So Solomon did what mankind has been doing since the Garden. He tried to replace God. Ecclesiastes says he went on a mission to find happiness and spared no expense. 

The king started with what he already had… wisdom. And he tried to learn everything he could about everything he could think of. He hired the best science teachers, philosophers, historians. He studied hard. But in the end he had to admit that intellect, all the knowledge in the world is like chasing after the wind.

So he went on to something else. Fun. Solomon had the means to throw the best parties. And he did. He hired the best entertainment. He served the best food. He invited the rich and famous. He owned more gold, silver, livestock, land than anyone. He built gardens and parks and reservoirs. He denied himself nothing. If material gain and living to please yourself could bring happiness, Solomon would have been the happiest man ever.

But he wasn’t happy. He found out that “things” can’t satisfy  no matter how lavish. What does he say about his experiment with pleasures?

This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

We’re not done looking at Solomon’s quest for happiness and fulfillment. But I think God would ask us all to check our own pursuits. What is it I am working toward? What is it I am using to replace God in my life? Is it education or science? Is it living for the weekend, having things, being caught up in material possessions? If we are honest we will agree with Solomon. None of that is eternal. None of that can last. 

If we are pursuing education or pleasure as means of fulfillment we might as well try to case the wind.

Dear God, as we look at the book of Ecclesiastes I pray that we will do so with open hearts and minds. Some who read this may hate life like Solomon did. May each of us be ready to take inventory, to recognize those things we think are so important in our lives, and to measure them according to your standards. I pray you will use Solomon’s words to help us know where true happiness lies.

June 5

Proverbs 28-30

Are you one of the millions of people who play the lottery hoping, maybe even praying for that big windfall? Do you dream about what you’d do with a couple million dollars? Do you try to strike a bargain with God by telling him all the great things you’d do with that money?

Agur asked two things of God. One was honesty. The other was middle-class living. Agur didn’t want to hit the lottery because he didn’t want to even be tempted to disown God. He didn’t want to be so poor he’d be tempted to steal, either. So he asked God to allow him to live honestly and modestly.

How much money would it take for you to be satisfied? Probably most of us reading these Scriptures today are able to pay our bills. There is probably food in our refrigerators. And we have shoes on our feet. I’m not saying riches are evil. And I’m not saying people who live in poverty are criminals. 

But I think God is asking us to take inventory. Many of the proverbs speak about work, doing our best, not just sitting around. Are you a good worker regardless of your financial position? Can you lay your head on your pillow each night confident that you honored God with what you accomplished? Do you tithe from what you already have? If God can’t trust you with what you have don’t even think about getting more.

I am not saying it’s wrong to work for a promotion at work. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be trying to do our best and it’s ok to expect to get paid. But if riches are our focus we’ve already fallen into the temptation Agur was fearful of.

Paul said he learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself. My prayer is that we all will do that, too. Instead of dreaming about that quick fix, that instant wealth, let’s thank God for what we have and get busy doing what is important for eternity.

Honest living. Modest living. Sounds like a plan.