America has a $16 Trillion economy. This is hard to wrap our heads around. According to Forbes.com the bottom 5% of Americans are richer than 68% of the world. Also according to Forbes the bottom 10% of Americans are socioeconomically better off than the top 10% of every other nation the planet expect 10. This includes better than Russia, Portugal, Brazil, Turkey, and Mexico.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,