Anyone who follows the political scene knows that the United States, the individual states, and the cities are in financial crisis.
Politicians talk the subject to death but exhibit little fortitude to do the hard things that will balance the books. Instead, many seem to get particular pleasure out of targeting those whose honest labor has been rewarded. They aim particularly at those who (by their definition) are rich, though ultimately everyone from the poorest to the richest pays—at the grocery store and the gas pump.
We recognize that it is not a sin to be rich and to have accumulated goods honestly gained. In Luke chapter 12 the Lord Jesus reveals that the issue was not the wealth which the rich man had accumulated, but rather the attitude of the self-centered man who had no concern for God or his neighbor. “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).
The rich man in the parable is an example of one who in his greediness pierced himself through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10). How so? The things that he treasured could save neither his life nor his soul. So it is and ever shall be for those who are laying up material treasures for themselves and are not rich toward God (Luke 12:21).
Let us appreciate the resources with which we are have been blessed by the Lord. Every good gift comes from the Father who knows our need. Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing” (Luke 12:22, 23).
Every material possession we have on this Earth can be taken from us—if not by natural disaster, then by other means, including excessive taxation. However, anyone who has this world’s wealth is poor if he does not have Christ; conversely, anyone who has Christ is rich if he has little or nothing of this world’s wealth.
In Matthew chapter four Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (v. 4).
Through the Word of God we are brought into the saving relationship with God the Father.
Through the Word we know that as children of God we have the authority and right to approach Him in prayer in every need of body and soul.
Through the Word of God we know that we have eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1 John 5:11).
Abundant life is found in Jesus Christ “who though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9, see John 10:10). The riches that we enjoy are the forgiveness of sins purchased at great price—the lifeblood of the incarnate Son of God who paid the sin-debt we owed but could not pay to God. As our Substitute Jesus paid it in full when He died on the cross. How eternally rich are all in whom Spirit-engendered faith grasps the assurance of eternal life that was sealed to us through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. In his
Small Catechism Dr. Martin Luther said that “where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation.”
The sheep who hear the voice of Jesus and through their relationship to Him have a relationship with the Father have the precious promise, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
As we keep the purpose of our life in proper focus, we will agree with the psalmist, “A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches
of many wicked” (Psalm 37:16).
Every Christ-believer is rich in the things that count and last. His wealth is secure. No disaster and no man or government can confiscate the riches of those whose inheritance is laid up in heaven. Paul wrote, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only
but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
May we receive with thanksgiving our material blessings (Fourth Petition), but even more so treasure the riches of heaven with all our heart, and in daily repentance and faith “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).