In the last post I talked about God's perspective on contentment. In this one, I'll move on into what Jesus had to say about material wealth, and the motives of our hearts.
Jesus had some clear and simple advice concerning what our hearts should be seeking after down here.
Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Mat 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Lifetimes are spent working to gain and maintain houses, businesses, material wealth. Headlines of hurricanes devastation shows the reality of how quickly it all can disappear.
People who call themselves Christians, and those in ministry get caught up in “laying up treasures” here in this world; they call it “God’s prosperity”. The bible gives many examples of faithful people who lived righteous lives and loved God; who never saw prosperity in their lifetimes. Somehow this does not get taught by today’s preachers and pastor’s. Many ignore, and pass by the verses that talk about taking up your cross, and being willing to suffer in this life. When I listen to these people’s opinions I have to go back to the bible, and read it for myself, in order to keep my own heart in tune with Jesus, and not get drawn down this path of deception that’s rampant in many churches today.
Many righteous Godly people spoken of in the bible never saw prosperity in their lives. The book of Hebrews lists many of them. John the Baptist, certainly never saw it; and Jesus called him the greatest prophet, that there was none greater.
There's nothing wrong with owning a comfortable home, living a good life of abundance. Where it becomes corrupted is when it turns to greed, and gluttony.
Jesus didn’t teach that money was evil, it was the love of it.
This was the very point Jesus was making to the rich young ruler who came to him asking what else he needed to do in order to inherit eternal life. When the Lord told him to keep the commandments, he declared he had kept them all, but without hesitation Jesus said “Go, sell all you have and give it to the poor, and come and follow me.” He knew this was the one point in the young ruler’s heart where he was not willing to surrender, and brought it to the surface right there in that moment. (Luke 18:18-25)
In this sad account it revealed riches were his idol.
The Lord, who knew already what was in his heart, but the young man needed to see it in himself, and be brought to a decision. When he was confronted with the corruption of his own heart; he went away sorrowful, he could not release his hold on this worlds goods.
Another who thought money was the answer to everything was a man in Acts called Simon, who was a sorcerer. He thought he could buy the power of the Holy Spirit to heal from Peter and John:
Act 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
Act 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
Act 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
Act 8:21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
Act 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
Act 8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
It is the same today with many, is it not?
In closing, let’s look at verses from Paul that give us encouragement and guidance in how to view our life here, and how to walk out our faith in Christ.
The apostle Paul gave us a great admonition in Col. Ch. 3. In these passages he teaches us what our mindset should be.
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
In these verses Paul teaches us these principles:
For ye died. This is a reason for not loving earthly things. We died to the world, crucified with Christ, and were buried.
Whatever we make an idol of, will either be a cross to us if we be believers, or a curse to us if unbelievers.
Set your affection on things above. This is a condition of seeking the things above. Our hearts must be in heaven with our beloved Lord.
if your obedience was from the heart and in faith, if you rose therefore with him (these are the emphatic words), then seek those things which are above. The risen Christ ascended; let your aspirations ascend also.
On that day, when we leave this world, and step across the river on that other shore; we will then understand the verse Paul spoke when he said "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."