As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17
There’s nothing inherently evil in being rich.
One of the most misquoted Scripture passages is seven verses prior to today’s text:
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Not that “money is the root” of evil but the love of money is.
It is a truth that the rich have this temptation – to trust in their wealth more than in God.
Let’s face it, if you have great wealth, you can do and have a lot of things!
But worldly wealth is temporary.
There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.
An angel hears his plea and appears to him. “Sorry, but you can’t take your wealth with you.” The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules.
The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed.
Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter. St. Peter seeing the suitcase says, “Hold on, you can’t bring that in here!”
But, the man explains to St. Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough, St. Peter checks and comes back saying, “You’re right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I’m supposed to check its contents before letting it through.”
St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, “You brought pavement?!!!”
(“Aha! Jokes > Heaven Jokes > Bring Riches with You.” Jokes, www.ahajokes.com/hea21.html. accessed August 1, 2017).
“You can’t take it with you” is a profound truth. The Old Testament Book of Job says it this way, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return” (Job 1:21).
God richly blesses us in this lifetime. Some he blesses with wealth. Others not so much. But all of God’s people are blessed with life. The spiritual life of sins forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Our salvation – a free gift of God – gives us an abundant life (see John 10). This may mean great worldly wealth, but it may not.
In the end, worldly wealth should be used by those of God’s people who have it to spread the story of the Good News of Jesus Christ with as many as possible.
This is the mission of the entire Church on earth no matter how much wealth each member has. And it is a mission that can be carried out how no matter how much wealth a person has!
If you have been blessed with great wealth, take care to use it as God intends and to not set your hope on it but rather on God who loves us and saves us through Christ!
Heavenly Father, you have called us to be your children and heirs of your gracious promises in Christ Jesus. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may forsake all covetous desires and the inordinate love of riches. Deliver us from the pursuit of passing things that we may seek the kingdom of your Son and trust in his righteousness and so find blessedness and peace; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
©2017 True Men Ministries