Beloved: Grace and Peace
Elkmont Baptist Church
Dearest and Beloved
The Place of Wealth in Our Lives
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. What do we treasure? The Lord Jesus says, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). He continues in the passage and tells us, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). He goes on in the passage and speaks to us about how we take thought of what we will eat, or drink, or what we shall put on. He summarizes, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33).
Grace to you.
The truth of these words shows us that we cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon is defined in the
So what does the Bible tell us about riches? More than I can go into right now, but if we are serving the Lord, the way we spend the wealth we get should give a testimony. Paul wrote to Timothy:
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
- 1 Timothy 6:17-19
What do we treasure? That is where our hearts will be. Are we laying hold on eternal life and laying up that good foundation?
What does the Bible tell us about the place of wealth in our lives?
Deuteronomy 8:11-18 tells us:
Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest
thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt
thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied,
fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where
no water; who
brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of
hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember
the LORD thy God: for
he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may
This passage teaches us that we can forget our Lord (we show that by not keeping His commandments and His justice) when we have eaten and are satisfied and wealth is multiplied. We can be tempted to think that we obtain wealth by our own power and might, by our own abilities. We are reminded of the truth that it is the LORD our God who gives us the power (ability) to get wealth. Truly He provides for our needs.
Back in 1996 when TVA laid off many workers, God used this passage to comfort me.
So what is the place of wealth in our lives?
Peter tells us that covetousness is something that is learned. Speaking of those who were not saved, "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: at heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: (2 Peter 2:14). These cursed children have exercised (trained) their hearts with covetous practices (greed). It is important to train our children to be generous (and remind our own selves that "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)). Speaking of the four soils, the Lord Jesus explains that "He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful" (Matthew 13:22). The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word of God in our lives and we become unfruitful.
The correct attitude concerning wealth is that we are stewards of what the Lord gives us. Paul reminded the Corinthian church, "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2).
So what should we learn about wealth and riches, about covetousness and greed? What principles found in the Scriptures will make us faithful stewards?
by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall
increase" (Proverbs 13:11). I have tried to teach my children that it is the one who works steadily that shall increase wealth. God's word shows us that the slow, steady plodding of the tortoise beats the get rich quick schemes of the hare.
2 Chronicles 1:7-12 records the following encounter (bold added):
In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast showed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father by established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.
Give me now wisdom I and
knowledge, that may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people,
that is so
And God said to Solomon, Because this
was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: Wisdom and knowledge
granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches,
and wealth, and honor, such as none of the kings have had that
before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like. Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge so that he could judge the peoples of Israel. He had been made king, but he knew what he needed. Can you see the pleasure that gave our Lord? From this passage we know it pleases God if we ask for wisdom and knowledge to do what He has called us to. Wisdom and knowledge to earn a living? Wisdom and knowledge to be a husband? Wisdom and knowledge to be a father? A grandfather?
Solomon, when he was young, wrote, "
not to be rich: cease from thine own
wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for
themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven" (Proverbs 23:4-5; bold added). When he was old, he wrote:
also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased
that eat them: and what good
to the owners thereof, saving the beholding
with their eyes? The sleep of a laboring man
sweet, whether he eat
little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this
- Ecclesiastes 5:10-12
From this we see that riches fly away when we seek them. We see that we can never be satisfied by riches. It is vanity, empty, not satisfying. We see that when we labor, our sleep will be sweet; whereas the abundance of the rich keeps them from sleeping.
Finally, we see, "
nothing better for a man,
that he should eat and drink,
he should make his soul good in his labor. This also I saw, that it
the hand of God" (Ecclesiastes 2:24). God gives us food and drink to enjoy and also labor as a gift. When we learn to enjoy what we do, it will not seem like work.
I have tried to teach my daughters that whatever we become good at, we enjoy. The more we stay on task and learn to do, the more joy we will have.
rather to be chosen than great riches,
loving favor rather
than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together: the LORD
the maker of
them all. A prudent
foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple
pass on, and are punished" (Proverbs 22:1-3).
This passage tells us the importance of a good name. It is to be chosen rather than great riches. Loving favor (graciousness) is better than silver and gold. A good name has to do with faithfulness. The faithful man keeps his word. He can be trusted to do what he says. Loving favor has to do with how we treat others. Whether we are rich or poor, we will meet together at the judgment seat.
Proverbs 20:6 tells us how rare a faithful man is: "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" (Virtuous women are rare also. Proverbs 31:10 asks, "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price
Proverbs 28:20 tells us, "A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent." The one who is faithful will abound with blessings, but the one who makes haste to be rich won't be able to remain innocent. This is how the prudent sees evil and hides himself. The prudent will see and understand that some riches simply are not worth endangering a good name or losing loving favor.
We are told, "Wealth
by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by
labor shall increase" (Proverbs 13:11). And also, "In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips
only to penury" (Proverbs 14:23). From this we see that those who
gather by labor shall increase, and that there is profit in labor, but talk leads only to dependence on others.
or the god of riches . . ." (Webster, 1987). If we serve God, riches will have no hold on us; and if we serve mammon, we will despise God and His word. We sometimes spend our thoughts on what we shall eat, or drink, or wear. But if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He promises to add all those things to us.
and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness,
American Dictionary of the English Language
as ". . . Riches ; wealth ;
establish his covenant which he swore unto thy fathers, as
Webster, Noah. 1987.
Noah Webster's First Edition of an American Dictionary
of the English Language
(5th ed.). Chesapeake, VA: The
Foundation for American Christian Education.
- a series compilation