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True Wealth

Date: 
Sunday, 21 March 2004

In today's world, a wealthy person is someone who can choose what to eat, what
to wear, where to live, and who has savings. That makes just about all of us
wealthy. We live in a wealthy country and the Christian population tends to come
from the better-educated and better-paid section of society.

Our wealth is both a trap and opportunity.

Material wealth can be a trap. We can easily confuse material wealth with real
value and so become like the Laodiceans who were materially rich but spiritually
poor (Rev 3:17). Or we can be like the fool whose barns were full to overflowing,
but was empty handed before God (Lke 12:16-21). James has an especially savage
passage against those who hoard wealth acquired at the cost of the poor
(Jas 5:1-6).

In itself, material wealth is neutral. But, our attitudes towards it and our actions
with it can be a fatal distraction. We both arrive in and leave the world materially
naked, but the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil and can distract us from
God (1 Tim 6:1-10). Love of money easily becomes the idolatry of greed and
displaces contentment with God's provision.

Material wealth is also an opportunity. Consider these words:

Command those who are rich in this world not to be arrogant nor to
put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope
in God, who so richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
Command them to be good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be
generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for
themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may
take hold of the life that is truly life (1 Tim 6:17-19).

Our wealth is an opportunity to love God and our needy neighbour by being
generous. Once we have provided for the needs (not wants) of our dependents
and ourselves we can give. Or, instead of working to our last breath, we can take
a modestly funded early retirement and give our time to family or Christian and
community service.

We are wealthy. But, is our wealth a trap or an opportunity?