Just to make this a little more personable, there is a website called globalrichlist.com that allows you to put in your income and it approximates where you fall on the global scale. If you make more than $33,000 a year, based on income, you are a part of the top 1% richest people on the planet. As an elected official, there are only 6 million people on the planet that make more than I do a year. As it relates to income, I make more money than 99.9% of the World. According to this site it would take a person in Indonesia 113 years to make what I make in one year. My monthly income would pay the salary of 366 doctors in Kyrgyzstan.
With this said, should we feel guilty about this? Does the fact that God has chosen to gives us earthly treasures mean that we are cursed? Maybe. The reason I say this is because of the frequent warnings we see in the Bible in regards to wealth. As I said, two weeks ago, Jesus speaks of money more than heaven and hell combined. Listen to some of these warnings.
- 1 Timothy 6:9 – “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
- Mark 10:25 – “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
- James 5:1-6 – “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.”
- Matthew 6:21-24 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
I believe this is one of the main reason’s God created the nation of Israel, to give us a living picture of what it means to have a God, what it looks like to have a relationship with a God. So with that in mind, turn in your Bibles to Exodus 20:1-6.
- Exodus 20:1-6 – “And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
With that in mind, what does God say next? He says do not make god’s for yourself? Yĕhovah 'Elohiym says don’t look at the world and try to fashion together the dust and replace Me with My creation. Don’t make gods. Now right now we may be saying, hold on, what is God talking about. I can barely make supper, let alone make a god. What does God mean when he says don’t make for yourself a God? Look at verse 5, “You shall not bow down to them or serve them.”
God is telling us that a god for us is something we bow down to, worship, praise, exult, honor, submit to. To make a god means to have something in your life that you serve, obey, cater, devote ourselves to, or work for. If you have something in your life that you allow to have control or authority over your life, than you, my friend, have made yourself a god. Whether intentionally or not, you have replaced God with creation. Therefore a god is anything that has control and authority over your life. With this in mind, let us turn back to Matthew 6, and look at verse 24.
- Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Perhaps you don’t agree. Perhaps you think that this only applies to the Donald Trumps of this world, but not to you. Let me ask you some questions: have you purchased a lottery ticket? Have you dreamed about what you would do if you won? What is the first question you have when looking for a job, salary? What do you and your spouse fight about? What causes anxiety in your life? How much money goes into your 401k verses going to God? What is keeping you from going on a mission trip? What would make you more sad, missing out on a job promotion, or missing out a sharing the Gospel? Is your vote dependent on the economy? To use a business term, Cash is King.
If you still don’t think you struggle with this, let me ask what if you lost your retirement money? What if the 100,000 you have stored away just vanished? Or what if you lost your job, and you go from making 35,000 year to nothing? Does money’s presence in your life hold your emotions hostage? Is the tone of your home dictated by the bills you receive that day? If so, I think you have made money your God.
Last question, if I said you have one wish, what would it be? Honestly, would you ask for riches in the world or would you ask for the riches of God’s Grace?
I hate to say this, but many of us have stood in the shoes of Judas, exchanging Jesus Christ for a 30 pieces of silver. We would rather have the presence of money, over the presence of the Lord.
We are, at a point, that we need to face the facts. We need to pick who will be our God. Will it be money? Or will it be God? Will the greatest treasure in your heart be your stuff or Jesus Christ. You can’t choose both. You have to pick. There is no fence sitting when it comes to following Jesus. We need to be done with this cheap grace stuff. When Jesus calls us to himself, he bids you come and die.
Turn with me to Luke 14:1-24.
- Luke 14:16 – “But he said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet hesent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.' 19 And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' 20 And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' 22 And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' 23 And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.”
Let us sing the song:
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
Let chose to make Christ our vision. Let us set our eyes, not upon treasure of this world where moth and rust destroy, but on the eternal treasure of the High King of Heaven.
If we do this. If we do not make money our god, but instead let the Self-Existing Creator be our God. If we place our eyes upon Jesus Christ as our greatest treasure, Jesus promises to us a fullness that our hearts desperately long for.
- Matthew 6:22 – “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,”
Think of your eyes as a window to your soul. No so much seeing in, but letting in. The bigger the window, the more light. The cleaner the window, the more light. Listen to what Jesus says in Revelation 3:17-19. We have looked at this text before, but it is too good to pass up.
- Revelation 3:17-19 – “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.”
So how? How do we do this? How do we set our eyes upon Jesus? Do we just sing a song and assume that it happens? No. We see Jesus when we read this Book. This book is about Jesus Christ. Every day, instead of counting our money we should be counting our blessings that flow to us through Calvary.
I realize that we have looked at a lot of Scripture today, but God’s Word says it so much better than my word. Listen to what Paul prays for the Church in Ephesus,
- Ephesians 1:15-21 – “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come”