Jesus asked a very poignant question: “what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, yet lose his own soul? And what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Is there anything more important than the material riches of this life? Is there anything that has greater value? Are we to believe that the entire meaning of life is found only in the here and now? The church of Laodicea believed it was. Christ addressed their profound absorption with all that is in the world. He condemned them for being rich, increased with goods, and having need of nothing. Their true condition was that of being wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.
But being rich is not condemned in the Scriptures. Neither is a life status where one is increased with goods. But confidence in riches is not something virtuous, and the love of money is the root of all evil. Proverbs encourages us to change our focus. It’s easy to look at the lives of those who are rich, and dwell without the fear of God, and envy them. We can focus on what they have, rather than what they lack. Indeed God causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust. We shouldn’t be surprised when hard work, even done by the wicked, prospers.
In the midst of all this God wants to remind us what He values: the fear of the Lord, genuine love, and the peacemakers. (Prov 15:16-18). The wicked can have the world in abundance. They can spread wide the table for a feast. Yet even the smallest of meals is more desirable if rooted and grounded in love. The treasury of the wicked can overflow in abundance. Yet better is a little, even the mite of a poor widow, who fears the Lord. God doesn’t bless the poor because they are poor. Nor does He remove blessing from the rich simply because of their status. But He desires a heart to serve Him in sincerity and truth, rich or poor. For that is where true blessing is found.