Wealth: Friend or Foe?

by LTC James Karr, USA (Ret.)

Wealth and riches are interesting topics today. We all want to do better, experience a better quality of life, and see our offspring become successful.

These topics are certainly not just for today; wealth and how to obtain it has captivated mankind through the ages. Two-thirds of the parables Jesus taught dealt with the power and influence of money.

Our motivation in acquiring money is the crux of the matter. The root of evil is the desire to have money so that one may wield power. Do we pursue money as security apart from God, or is it a by-product of the wisdom that God gives to the righteous?

1 Samuel 2:7 (NKJV) says, "The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up." I cannot explain why some very wicked people have a lot of wealth.

The real issue lies in the pursuit of the goal of obtaining and pursuing riches. Is it meant for good, or is it meant for evil? Proverbs10:2 (NKJV) succinctly states, "Treasures of wickedness profit nothing."

Proverbs 28:22 (NKJV) tells us, "A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him."

When we view the short life that we all have through the prism of eternity, our personal motives become clearer regarding the resources that God has entrusted to us. As I have said before, it all belongs to Him, not us.

Do you ever wonder about those who become rich overnight? Statistics show that in about three years after receiving an unexpected windfall, the person is in far worse financial trouble than before.

Unearned, unexpected windfalls can set a trap for many, as they are unprepared to manage the resources, and may literally throw money away. We point back to the scriptures… without "wisdom," resources are soon gone. As the Bible says, "They vanish like a vapor."

In 1 Chronicles 21, God told David to buy a plot of land from a man named Orman, and to build an altar on that site. Orman tried to give David his land, but David refused and paid Orman a fair price for his property.

My study Bible made the point that, "Giving to God what costs you nothing does not demonstrate commitment." Easy come, easy go?

The lesson in all this is that it is honorable for man to sweat and toil in honest work and to enjoy the fruits of his labor. If something is thrown into our laps with no effort on our part, it may be discarded without much thought.

That is why gambling is abhorrent. At best, it yields great rewards for no effort.

I believe God honors the perseverance and the action of going through the struggle for and with Him.

God gives us resources, and He allows us to exercise stewardship over what is His. Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV) spells it out, "And you shall remember the Lord thy God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day."

Yes, God gives us the power to become rich, but it may be in terms of our riches in eternity with Christ Jesus and not in our human, earthly terms. What is important is what drives us. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all this will be added unto you."

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