Have I got a deal for you!
From television to the Internet to direct mailers—we hear this everywhere. Entire industries exist to help other industries find ways to get us to part with our money. Almost sounds like a conspiracy.
But there’s a great conspiracy going on and it’s in us. It’s the desire for more. It goes by many names: greed, avarice, materialism, covetousness—but whatever you call it, it’s the desire to side step the long process of wealth and get it quickly. If that’s in our hearts, the warning of Proverbs 28:19-20 is very timely.
Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
All the way back at the beginning, we find Adam and Eve wanted to have the knowledge and wisdom of God so they disobeyed and ate the fruit. But they did not end up with the riches of God’s wisdom. They ended up broken. They ended up dying.
The options we have come down to two: do we want to be richly blessed or in a hurry to get rich? The former requires faithfulness to God; the latter requires losing our souls to make money at any cost. The premise of this Proverb is something we see played out every day: those who pursue empty gain end up with empty hearts—even if their hands are full.
Don’t misunderstand, this is NOT some kind of veiled attack against those with wealth. If you’re reading this, you are probably already among the wealthiest of the world. The issue is not about money but about our hearts. This is why Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). If our treasure is spent trying to simply gain more treasure, our hearts will not be on God or anybody else.
People become commodities to be traded and exploited. Relationships become only as useful as the net worth of the individual. Does that sound like the way Scripture has repeated told us to treat people?
As most of you, my dear readers, know: Patty and I have embarked on a fantastic journey into launching a life-giving church in Baton Rouge, LA. Although we are only in the beginning stages, we are at the fund-raising stage. This Proverb truly has been used by the Lord to sift my heart.
It’s like this: it will take a phenomenal amount of money (from our perspective) to launch this church. It would be easy to simply go from person to person making a sales pitch and value them only as much as they can give.
But this isn’t our calling as Christians. I don’t want something from them; I want something for them. I want them to invest the resources God has given them into His vision through us. Now, if they tell me “no” but they have prayed through that decision, that’s a win for the kingdom. It’s not a loss for me.
Why? My “job” is not to raise funds. It’s to increase participation in the Kingdom by the Lord’s people. Very different perspective.
When we simply chase after money, we use and abuse. However, our Lord calls us to surrender and sacrifice.