Randy Alcorn wrote a book called Money, Possessions and Eternity. I’m about halfway through reading it. I’m impressed with his thorough biblical research and how he ties God’s truth to human experience and attitudes. He clearly shows how money is not the root of all evil, but that, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” and that “it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Jesus said that no one can love both money and God. Alcorn shows how that love for money draws people away from trusting the Lord, for lovers of money think that money will supply all their needs and be the source of their happiness. This is a claim for God alone. When the prophet Jeremiah was sent to speak to those who were well off, he told them:
I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not listen.’ This has been your way from your youth, that you have not obeyed my voice. (Jeremiah 22:21)
These prosperous people would not listen to their Creator God, but they had listened to their idol god, cash in the bank. So also did Solomon, the writer of many Proverbs and the book of Ecclesiastes. He had seen prosperity. He may have been the richest man of his time, but he realized the vanity of riches. They did not give him the satisfaction he sought. He learned the hard way that staying close to God was far more important than prosperity. In his compilation of wisdom, he included these words of Agur…
Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. (Proverbs 30:8–9)
As I reflect on these words, I think of many family members and friends who have followed the same allure. However, I cannot point fingers for I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of putting too much focus on my cash flow. As a very poor new Christian, God showed me that I didn’t have to worry about money, that He would take care of me. Now I have all that I need, even more, I know the temptations that go with prosperity. Money is far easier to spend than to earn.
However, as Alcorn’s book says, when I die, none of my money or stuff will go into eternity with me. I can “lay up treasure in heaven” but hoarding it here is folly, as is spending it on stuff I don’t need and cannot use.
God, I’m thankful for Your care, but aware that I need to focus on You rather than what You do for me. When life is over, You remain as my greatest and only asset. Help me to always remember and rely on You, not on anything else.