I’d say it’s a fundamental desire of every person to grow their wealth so they can provide for themselves, buy some extra things they want and retire with dignity.
We spend many of our waking hours at jobs that pay us to work so we can meet these financial goals. If we work long enough and are smart with money, we can accumulate significant wealth along the way.
I’d also say it’s a fundamental desire of every Christian to trust in God. We put our trust in God initially for our salvation. We also know that we are to continue that trust in Him throughout our life. We trust in God for our daily needs, for strength, for protection and, as Proverbs 3:5-6 puts it, so that “…he shall direct your [our] path.”
A Conflict Between Growing Wealth & Trusting In God
Somewhere along the journey though our trust in God and the growing of our wealth collide.
At times we can find ourselves abandoning our trust in God for daily needs and replace it by trusting in our accumulated wealth. Instead of waiting patiently and trusting in God to supply a need, we simply head to the bank to withdraw some money.
“Hey God, no need to sweat this one. I’m financially secure…I got it covered.”
The Rich Fool
It’s as though we end up living the life of the rich fool.
You remember the parable Jesus told about him, right? The Bible says in Luke 12:16-19 that,
“…the ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink and be merry.’”
This man reached the point where he trusted only in his wealth to sustain him. Obviously he had been a great businessman to accumulate so much. In the end his wealth became on what he relied. He trusted solely on his wealth for his present and future and chose to abandon his attention to God for his needs.
The King Who Trusted In God
Conversely, on the other end of the spectrum we have King David. He wrote in Psalm 20:7,
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”
In the Bible, chariots and horses were a sign of wealth. The more you had the wealthier you were. As king, David surely had an abundance of each. If there was any person who could put his trust in his own might and his own wealth it would have been him. However, we don’t see him expressing that attitude in this verse.
David is sharing a secret formula with us. He realizes what we all need to understand – that a satisfying Christian life is not built on wealth or possessions. We can only find true satisfaction by trusting in God as our provider and relying on Him for our needs. That thought needs to be remembered over and over again and diligently acted upon each day.
Fighting The Urge To Trust In Wealth, And Not God
So how do we fight the urge to turn our trust away from God? Well, we have to go back for the outcome to the barn building of the rich fool. As you recall, the ending of Jesus’ parable wasn’t pretty.
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)
Sadly, this man met an unfortunate end. The day these words left his mouth would also be the last day of his life. It didn’t matter how much wealth this man had accumulated, it would no longer meet his present or future needs. He couldn’t trust in it to save him. The security of his wealth had blinded him from his need to trust in God.
God has given us the ability to work and grow wealth. It’s clear from Scripture there is nothing inherently wrong with doing that. But our wealth – much like our lives – is like a vapor. It could be here one moment and gone the next.
To put our trust in something so uncertain and fleeting as earthly riches is foolish.
To that end, let our mind and our daily practice be like that of David who said,
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Ps. 34:8)
Questions: Have you found yourself trusting in your wealth? How do keep the focus on God and rely on Him each day?
Very interesting read. I’m not a religious person. I’m not sure if I actually believe in God. I know a lot of Christians who think that being wealthy is a bad thing. It’s almost like they have failed God by focusing on financial gains. I struggle with this logic. I always tell these people that God would want his children to live a life of humility but in abundance. I think God would want his flock to earn as much as possible so they could do good with their money.
Brian @ Luke1428 says
“…so they could do good with their money.” I agree with this Nathan. I don’t believe that it’s in God’s plan for everyone to be a wealthy but some are blessed to reach that status. There were many wealthy people in the Bible who God used to do extraordinary things. I don’t think I’m failing God by focusing on financial goals. Just the opposite. I think I’m being a wise steward of the resources He’s given me. Thanks for sharing!
this is an interesting topic. one of the more important things to remember is that people like Abraham, David, Solomon, Queen Esther, Joseph, Job, Isaiah, Daniel, and many others in the bible were either very wealthy or were well off. Riches are not the problem but putting trust in them is. Amaziah was told to not worry about Silver he had spent on some mercenaries because God didn’t want him to trust in hired soldiers but in the power of the Lord: http://www.rom815.blogspot.com/2015/03/what-about-100-talents-of-silver.html We need to work hard, seek to live quiet and peaceful lives, and give a lot to help others. For many of us wealth will come from hard work – we just need to guard our hearts against making an idol out of it. Thanks for the insights.
Brian @ Luke1428 says
“…Riches are not the problem but putting trust in them is.” That’s exactly right! In the end it boils down to a heart issue and what you are trusting in.
Bren Stewart says
Brian thank you for writing this article, and praise to the Lord for putting this into my inbox. I have no idea how I got connected to the site. Nonetheless, I have.
Right now, I have been struggling over writing a business plan in order to receive a grant to start a business. I really don’t have any idea how to go about doing this; and at the same time struggling with thinking that it is wrong for me to want to get out of my current financial situation…which is living below the poverty line here in Canada.
I keep reading about the rich man that came to Jesus, and Jesus told him to give away all of his belongings….but the man couldn’t…
I feel torn. I don’t think that I worship money, but sometime I have to wonder if I do when I seem to spend a lot of time chastising myself for thinking about whether I worship money or not.
I know I’m 10 months late here, but just in case you still wonder about this, or in case another reader wonders the same things, there’s two articles I’ve recently found that clear up the subject pretty well.
About the man who couldn’t give away his belongings: https://www.gotquestions.org/rich-young-ruler.html
In essence, the story is about the man trying to earn salvation, and Jesus used his wealth to illustrate his major flaw, he chose it over obeying Jesus, proving that no one can earn salvation. It’s especially significant since wealthy people were considered more righteous in that culture.
And about whether or not we should be wealthy: https://www.gotquestions.org/poor-vs-rich.html
Each person can do good things, but some are blessed financially, and use that to bless others financially.
I hope this helps, best wishes!