When someone talks about their riches and is seen with many material things that person does not truly understand wealth. Yes we need money to survive in the world today but so many have decided that the only thing that makes them happy is more stuff. Part of comedian George Carlin’s routines dealt with materialism. He talked about how much stuff we have and when we accumulate more we need a bigger place. When we go somewhere we have to have a certain amount of stuff that goes with us which nowadays equivalent is electronic distractors and things we believe we might need but then most of it ends up just sitting there taking up space just to look at.
People with more money than they know what to do with have the most expensive houses, cars, large bank accounts that only a portion has gone into trust funds for their kids to either squander or go to college with. But what happens to all of that. Material wealth means nothing after you die but how you lived your life does. You can have all the money you want but that really gets you nowhere if it is not put to use for the good of all mankind.
Jesus had a lot to say about the dangers of wealth and the difference between material and spiritual wealth.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. . . . 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 both God and money. Matt. 6:19–24
According to the Gospel of Luke, a person asked Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus of course refuses this request which should surprise not only preachers of the prosperity gospel but also advocates of the social gospel. To the person He leaves this warning: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” Luke 12:13–15
And Jesus tells a parable to help the person learn:
The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. Luke 12:16–21
Material wealth leads to the poverty of the soul
How many lottery winners out there have you heard of that have been found destitute not too long after winning. Unfortunately it is a bigger problem than most people think. Yes there are good souls out there that give away more than they need but for those who keep and squander, they lose what life they had and lose sight of what really matters.
There is something to be said about being blessed with material goods. God provides so that the person may provide others in need or for the greater glory of God. When God gave Moses the plans for the Tabernacle, He instructed the people to give of the materials needed. The problem that came forth was that there was so much given that the storehouses had overflowed and Moses had to tell the people that there was enough. God had provided with these materials when He put it on the Egyptians hearts to bless the Israelites with many goods. So much so that their carts were overflowing and burdened.
We see the burden as Aaron had been forced to create a golden calf for them to worship because they were impatient and lost sight of God. They got their visual but God trampled it and gave them the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. This first group kept denying His power so often that they all died out except a chosen few before seeing the land of Promise.
Pay Caesar What is Caesar’s, Pay God What is God’s
After the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with the payment of taxes He said the above quote to teach a lesson. Money really does not mean anything but the gifts and blessings that God grants are to be returned with our providing for our fellow man through doing God’s work which means using the spiritual and material gifts for His glory.
The pastors who preach the prosperity gospel are not teaching spiritual prosperity but worldly. This is not what God intends for us. When they speak of the “best life now” what they mean and what the truth of that statement means are two different things. We are to live a good life but it means we are to experience the good and the bad. We are to suffer and from that suffering find the joy that God brings when we find the peace in our hearts that says, “God’s got this because you believe and trust that He will take care of you”. We live a good life when we have friends and family that we share a common bond of caring for one another. These are the people we would give up things no matter the personal cost. That is the “best life”.
Those who are more concerned with material wealth, living in the best houses, having the best cars and many other things do not understand what they are doing to themselves. They are literally killing themselves daily. Material wealth causes nothing but grief. Do not get caught in the devil’s snares.
What is to be said about all this? Use your material wealth for the glory of God and you will not suffer poverty in your heart.
Rob, Servant of God