But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
If you’re anything like me, it just seems logical that you would rather be rich than poor. It feels more comfortable to afford the necessities in life – and so wonderful to afford the extras, the extravagances, and the luxuries.
Who ARE “The Rich”?
I know some incredibly wealthy folks, but I don’t know anyone who lumps themselves under the umbrella of “the rich.” And no one I know would want to be one of “the rich who fade away even while they go about their business.”
So, how rich is a person who is considered “the rich”? Are YOU that rich? Is it only the millionaires, the billionaires, or the multi-billionaires?
All of the riches, all of the precious metals and jewels, all of the zeros and commas in a checkbook ledger, all of the cryptocurrency ever imagined or YET to be imagined, cannot buy everlasting life.
What if “the rich” are NOT just people with a lot of money? What if it’s anyone who relies on their money, their business, or their job to provide everything? What if it’s anybody who puts their faith in accumulating things and experiences, racking up their retirement account, checking off their to-do’s, while completely ignoring Who gave them the ability to have, see, and do all the things?
Are YOU “The Rich”?
Just how “rich” would you need to be, where you’d even be the least bit tempted to say:
I’m good, thanks.
I don’t need God today.
I don’t need to read the Bible today.
I don’t need a sermon about sin and grace.
I don’t need a church this week – or probably even next week.
I don’t need to pray today.
I’ve got this on my own.
Sister, no offense, but I pray you never become so rich that you don’t need God… So rich that your riches and the lifestyle it buys, keep you from treasuring God’s Word, every. single. day… So rich that you would look down on someone who reminded you that you are a sinner who needs the healing forgiveness found in the body and blood of Christ. (Because, at Sky Blue Annie, that someone is me!)
I pray that you would long to hear that your sins are forgiven, and that they were paid for by the blood of Jesus – the costliest transaction ever.
While you’re busy chasing the next thing, (and there’s always a next thing) are you making time to dig in to God’s Word? That is to say, are you intentionally reading, studying, or otherwise making use of the Scriptures?
Are you edging out God, just to get the edge on your ambitions?
Hear Me, Sister
I am NOT praying that you never get rich!
I do pray that when you are (or become) rich, that you will remember: All good gifts come from God. Even our money.
I also pray you will give thanks and praise and honor and glory to God for all you have – whether it’s ten dollars or your next million!
“Rich” Is What You Make Of It
I currently live in a house that was built over 100 years ago, and let me tell you, it “needs” everything. If I have my way, this house will be transformed into a comfortable gathering place for friends and family, someday.
However, at the moment, there is no kitchen to speak of. A very nice hot plate and some cool small appliances get me by, though, until we build my “real” kitchen.
Now, to some, I am in poor circumstances, because I don’t yet have a “proper” kitchen. Whoopie-doo what they think!
As far as I’m concerned, I DO have a terrific kitchen – it just hasn’t been built yet. (Much like… I WILL live in heaven someday, I just haven’t moved yet.)
Not Our First Redo
This will be our third whole-home remodel. I know my kitchen is coming. It’s just a matter of time. Meanwhile, every design idea I come up with is free – until we execute!
In our previous home’s kitchen remodel, we maximized its lighting:
Loads of LED pot lights
Lighted drawer interiors
Lights both over and under the kitchen sink
Even lights on the inside of the wine fridge.
We used shiny-white subway tiles, polished quartz countertops, gleaming stainless steel appliances, and a white ceramic farmhouse sink, to bounce every last bit of light around the kitchen. (Where we lived, light was at a real premium.) The only thing we didn’t light was the toe-kick area – but it did cross my mind!
Relish, Yes – Worship, No
While I am very confident we will have a fabulous kitchen someday, I am unwilling to make that kitchen an idol – something that I give priority over God.
And, I wouldn’t trade my makeshift kitchen for anything. The untold value is in the process and the anticipation! As a creative, I relish the design (dream) phase, and I will absolutely nerd out every last quarter-of-an-inch of my kitchen-to-be.
I would be very disappointed if someone plopped down even the most exquisite kitchen at the snap of their fingers, in place of my induction hotplate. I would be robbed of joy!
Am I “The Rich”?
Although I am fed, clothed and sheltered, I don’t feel like I am “the rich.” I would never begrudge the rich their wealth – as I would rather be rich than not.
However, gold is ultimately paving material for the streets of heaven, and any gold I have in this life won’t be following me into eternal life. I would hold on loosely, and not fixate on what I still want, at the expense of the promises of heaven.
When You Choose Your Priorities, Put God FIRST
When you go about your business each day, choose to honor God, the source of your riches, FIRST.
Choose to spend time in prayer. Choose to read His Word – in digestible bites. Choose to admit and confess your sins, and be willing to hear that your sins are forgiven.
THEN choose to make and enjoy your riches!
Do BOTH, Sister – without becoming that passing, fading, withering, sun-scorched wild flower.
Be rich in the Lord,
Next, we’ll take another glimpse into the Book of James: Persevere under trial… receive the crown of life. Stay tuned.