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Pointers along the way #707

Want to be rich, Christian?

- Jacob Ninan

In spite of the fact that Jesus said it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God (Mt.19:24), and the warning that those who are trying to become rich will fall into traps that may even destroy them (1Ti.6:9), people still go after riches. Especially when the preachers of 'prosperity gospel' convince them that it is their right to become rich, they plunge into the 'Christian' schemes of getting rich paying tithes, planting seed money, bargaining with God after fasting, etc., without realising that there is great danger there.

On one hand, it is natural that those who suffer lack will want to have things easier. There is nothing wrong with that. Our heavenly Father knows that we have needs to be met (Mt.6:32). That is not what Jesus says about wanting to be rich. He is concerned about those who are never satisfied with what they have, and are also pursuing after more money, more luxury, more thrills, more fun, more variety, more experiences, etc., in order to enjoy this life to the maximum. What happens is that such people begin to give second priority (and later no priority) to pursuing after walking closer to God, accomplishing His will, proclaiming Him more, building His kingdom, caring for His people, etc. What we treasure most in our heart will become our god. In this case, the love of riches will become our god, and we will leave God behind.

The reason why it is difficult for rich people to enter God's kingdom is that they have more than enough money to meet all their needs, and they believe in their heart that with their money they can handle everything. In other words, they don't really 'need' God. Even if they give some lip service to God and make a show of giving Him some of their money, their heart is not with God, their dependence is not on Him, and they think they can manage quite well. That is why God says that the poor of this world usually have more faith than the rich (Jas.2:5), because the poor have no option but to seek God.

God tells us that we should be content if we have enough for our needs (1Ti.6:8). This is our safety from the attractions of this world gourmet food, fancy clothes, luxurious homes, the latest cars and gadgets, travel to exotic places, and many other forms of pleasure. But what if we get all these and lose God (Lk.12:19,20)?

What if we end up becoming poor in eternity, not having gathered for ourselves treasures in heaven (Mt.6:20)? Godliness gives great gain in this life and the life to come, especially when it is accompanied by contentment (1Ti.6:6). That is the abundant life Jesus gives. That is why Jesus emptied Himself of His rights as God and came down as a Man to give us true riches. Are we dumb enough to imagine that we can love God and earthly pleasures at the same time even though God expressly tells us no (Mt.6:24), or that we can turn to God once we have enjoyed our life enough?

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