When I was a kid I wanted to be a professional baseball player and be rich. I think most of us desire to be rich. Just today my Lyft driver told me how he wanted to be the first millionaire in his family.
But what does God say about this?
The Driving Force
The Bible mentions plenty of wealthy people, some who followed God and others who didn’t. But only one of them was called to sell everything he had and give it to the poor.
Deep down, many of us wonder if God loves the poor more than the rich. We wonder if somehow it’s more spiritual to be poor. Others of us see financial prosperity as a sign of God’s blessing. We assume it’s more spiritual to be rich.
What Jesus clearly said was, “No servant 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 God and money.” Luke 16:13
I have often read this verse as “You should not serve God and money.” In other words, it’s bad. But now I see it as: “You cannot serve God and money because it’s impossible.”
It’s possible to be religious and put money first in your life. But Jesus says it is not possible to be a lover of God and a lover of money. These two things war against each other and each of us must decide between them.
We must choose who or what will be the the Lord of our lives. Who or what will be the driving force: God or money?
The Dangerous Byproduct
The current of our world pulls us in the direction of the love of money but it’s Scripture that paints a picture of where that river ends.
“Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:9-10
Am I arguing that money is bad and all Christians should be poor? No. It’s not bad to be rich, but being rich is a bad goal.
"It’s not bad to be rich, but being rich is a bad goal."
A Higher Goal
Instead of desiring to be rich, we should set our course toward a higher goal, toward better riches. God’s word actually invites us, “to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share…” 1 Timothy 6:18
Whether you ever have great wealth or not, you have the opportunity to be rich in good works. Your life could abound with the kind of fruitfulness that’s described as thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold. When we make serving God and others our greatest goal, we will become rich with true riches, the kind that really matter in the end, and we discover the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:19
Today you could align with God’s word and decide that your greatest ambition is to be rich in good works. You could make it your holy passion to excel at advancing God’s kingdom.
What would it look like for you to repent of your desire to be rich? To turn from the goal of storing up treasure for yourself or securing yourself? Today, you could lay it down again by praying something like this:
“Dear God, I surrender my life, my influence, and my wealth to you. Use me to introduce people to Jesus and bring your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Guard me from the love of money and the love of this world so that my life will be aimed at eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”