Rich Man/Wise Man
She (wisdom) is more precious than rubies and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her. Proverbs 3:15
So many people today want to make it to the top: become rich and have the good things in life. Is there any merit in this? Many years ago a magazine did an article on the ten richest men in the world. Years later they published “What ever happened to the ten richest men in the world?” The article showed that most of the ten were either in drug rehab, committed suicide or were in mental institutions. You would think that with all that money they wouldn’t have problems, but they did.
Years ago the lottery was allowed into our state. As winner after winner was revealed an article was published talking about how the so called winners were in worse shape than they were before they had won. They had changed and did things they would have never done. There were divorces, fights over property, battles in court, not knowing who your friends were because of your money. Does God have anything to say that could have avoided it in the beginning? The answer is yes!
God’s word tells us in many passages about the dangers of being rich and how it can destroy us. This is not to say that all rich people are bad, but there is a greater pressure to make wrong decisions. Several people in the Bible were rich, but it did not affect them. One of them was Abram (Abraham). In Genesis 13:2 the Bible tells us that Abram was very rich in cattle, silver and in gold. Abram was satisfied with what the Lord provided. He was not seeking to want more. This was evident when Abram rescued Lot. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to give him treasure, but he refused saying he would not take a shoe latchet so they could not say they made Abram rich.
The following verses are just a few of the warnings God gives us about the riches of this world:
Labour not to be rich, cease from thine own wisdom Proverbs 23:4
Here we find a key principal about riches; it should never be our objective. D.L. Moody purposed in his life to be rich by saving up a $100,000. When the Lord got a hold of him he used the money he had for ministry. Later, when his works made large amounts of money, he gave away what he did not need.
Today, we have so many multi-level marketing companies that get people into their groups by playing on their lusts for getting rich. I personally know this because I studied their plan and know people as well as relatives that have been involved in the program. If you are to succeed, you must put in countless hours of work trying to get people into the program. This leaves you very little time for anything else.
God’s plan for success is by the sweat our face Genesis 3:19 and a healthy balance with our families: I sense that those involved in these programs tend to have an attitude towards the poor forgetting that the Lord makes the poor and the rich.
“He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent … hath an evil eye and poverty shall come upon him” Proverbs 28:20,22
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” I Timothy 6:9
These verses alone destroy the foundation of gambling as well as the lottery. It is sad to see families that don’t have enough money for diapers for their babies, but they will spend countless dollars for the chance to hit the big time, only to fall in foolish lusts if they do win. Prior to winning people have said how they will use it for good, only to go in the opposite direction.
Actually, when people obtain riches that violate God’s word they become enslaved to the winning of it. Therefore it is better not to be involved at all. Some would say that the biggest winners of the Lottery are the states that promote it, but they too are in violation of God’s word and find out that more problems surface which require more money to be used. This is the judgment for disobeying God’s word.
“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches”. Proverbs 13:7
This verse shows that we should not be concerned with the riches of this world. So many people strongly believe that if they became rich they could do a lot more for the Lord. Unfortunately, the desire for riches is wrong and clearly demonstrated in scripture.
“So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”. Luke 12:21
Here Jesus tells the story of a certain rich man who had such a good harvest and instead of helping those around him, he coveted his increase for himself. Because of his selflessness, God took his life. Again the rich have such a weakness for the things of the world.
The most famous story of the dangers of riches is the ruler that came to Jesus seeking eternal life (Luke 18). When Jesus told him to give his money to the poor and he would have great riches in heaven, he walked away sorrowful because he was very rich. This is not to say we have to sell all we have and give it away, but would we be willing to if the Lord asks it of us? His riches were keeping him away from Jesus.
We also have Zacchaeus in Luke 19 who was chief among the Publicans and he was rich. When he came to Jesus he offered half of his money to the poor and if he had cheated anyone, he would pay them back four times. When the Lord heard this he responded with:
”this day is salvation come to this house..” Luke 19:9
This is not to say that works is part of ones salvation, but that because he had salvation, from his heart he did what he did.
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”. Rev 3:17
The Laodiceans thought they had it all, but the Lord revealed that they did not because of their lust for earthly riches.
Ruth and Solomon
One important character trait about those in scripture, who were blessed greatly by the Lord, was not that they were concerned with the riches of the world. Ruth was the only woman directly mentioned in scripture as being a virtuous woman. Boaz made this comment concerning her:
“… Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, in as much as thou followedst not young men, poor or rich.” Ruth 3:10
Solomon, who was the son of King David, was made King of Israel. When he went to Gibeon to worship the Lord, God came to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask what I shall give thee” Solomon replied, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad, for who is able to judge this thy so great a people. And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.” I King 3:5-10
Solomon was not interested in getting rich; his main concern was to God’s people. It’s amazing that Solomon did not refer to Israel as his people but as God’s people. The Lord told Solomon that since he did not ask for:
• Long life
• The life of his enemies
God not only gave him wise and an understanding heart like no king before or after him. He would also give him riches and that if he walked in his ways and kept his commandments, as his father did, he would have a long life.
Real riches are not found in a buried treasure chest or a genie in a bottle or even the Lottery, but in God’s Word. In all the riches of Egypt, not one Pharaoh was able to take one cent with him to the next world. Jesus said:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19 - 21