Where did it go……. the money, your retirement fund invested in the stock market, the equity in your home, the value of your business, the availability of credit and cash flow, your job, the generally prosperous economy and the economic optimism that accompanied it? We are not sure where it all went, or why, or if and when it will come back. We suspect that much of it was consumed by greed, graft and corruption. Some of it went to pay for foolish decisions of people who took unwise and unnecessary risks trying to get rich the quick and easy way, using credit to buy things they did not really need and could not afford. Some of it went sour because government thought it could continue to spend money it did not have and pile up larger and larger deficits and increase the national debt. And quite possibly God allowed this to happen – whether a self inflicted wound on our part or an act of loving correction and discipline on His part or both – to humble us, to get our attention, to remind us of our weakness and dependence on Him, to help us see once again that “man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” And if we continue to harden our hearts and stiffen our necks as a people, things will probably get worse before they get better. Whatever the reasons, it has gone and continues to take wings and fly away. But this has always been true. The Bible says, “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.”
Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Our real treasure can not be put in a bank or lost or gained in the markets. Our real treasure can not be bought with money and is worth more than all the gold, silver, diamonds, real estate, and oil in the universe. Our true treasure will not be given up and left behind when we one day soon keep that final appointment that is common to all. Our true treasure we could never ever earn or deserve no matter how hard or how long we tried. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Jesus is the true treasure. Through Him we have reconciliation and fellowship with our loving Creator and Heavenly Father. In Him we have cleansing, healing, forgiveness, love, hope, joy and peace that surpasses understanding. In Him we have life – not just physical and material but spiritual, supernatural, abundant and eternal. When we surrender to Him in repentance and faith, the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts to teach, guide, comfort and transform us into His likeness and help us become the person God created us to be.
And when we are children of God we are rich – even if the economy is struggling, even if our bank account is small and our wallet flat. Our Father owns it all. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you; for the world is Mine and all it contains.” “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”…. “What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” When we follow Jesus, God provides everything we need to be content, satisfied and blessed. We do not need to worry or be anxious about the economy or material wealth or anything else. God feeds the birds. He clothes the flowers. He will take care of us His children. All we need to do is seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and He will provide. “Godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.”
“But Godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we can not take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptations and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many a pang. But flee from these things you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”…..”Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, Who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” Sometimes the Bible says it so well it is better to just let it speak for itself.
If we belong to Jesus Christ we are truly rich beyond measure. But most of the world does not know Christ. They are living in spiritual poverty which is the worst kind of poverty. They are walking in darkness, dying in sin and going to hell for hopeless eternity. We who are rich have a moral and spiritual obligation to tell them about Jesus and share our true treasure with them. God does not need anything from us. But they do. And we need to give it. We have been given much and much is required from us. And in the giving we find the greater blessing.
Steve Crumpler for Glenn Crumpler, Cattle for Christ International
Glenn is in Peru at time of writing