Consider this test in checking if our hope is well founded…..
Consider the example that Yeshua Jesus gave us. He was born to a common man and woman in a stable. He grew up as a carpenter’s son. He may have earned some money to go into His ministry treasury, as well as accepted gifts from others (I do not think God’s Word tells us that explicitly). But, He never lived in a mansion or rode the best horse. He never wore fine royal clothing. Sometimes, he had nowhere to lay His head, only the ground in the wilderness. Isaiah says there was nothing special about His appearance that would attract people. The Bible tells us that on occasion, He and His disciples would glean grain from the fields when they were on the ministry road and hungry. (Israelite landowners were commanded to leave the corners of the fields for the poor, needy, widows, and travelers to glean as needed.) Would you say Yeshua Jesus was worldly rich? Would you say He had all He needed and was content in what His Heavenly Father provided?
And what did Yeshua Jesus teach about being rich in the things of this world? We saw in Matthew 6 how He taught people to not worry about physical needs in this world. He also told us that it is very difficult for a rich person to get into the kingdom of God. I believe this is because they trust in their riches and what they can do more than they are willing to trust in God. Then, He proves this when a rich young ruler approaches Him to ask how he can come into God’s kingdom. Yeshua Jesus sees that riches are the idol of his heart and tells him that he must give his riches to the poor and follow him. This is too difficult for the rich young ruler so he walks away discouraged. The riches of the world had entangled his heart.
Yet, we do see in the Old Testament that some patriarchs were very rich…like Abraham, King Saul, King David, and King Solomon. God knew what He had called them to and what they needed in order to fulfill that call. Even then, riches were very hard to handle. Many of these people started out with a right heart towards God, but worldly riches ended up leading to their corruption. Abraham’s riches fed Lot’s desire to get riches and took him to Sodom and Gomorrah. King Saul started out well, but his riches, power and pride overtook him into insanity. King David’s riches got him in trouble too…..with too many wives, children who fought one another, his becoming lazy and staying home from battle to fall into temptation with Bathsheba….and eventually fighting his own son Absalom over the kingdom and its riches and power. King Solomon began by asking God for wisdom when God had offered him anything…..but Solomon also fell into the trap of riches, pagan wives, spectacular structures, and international popularity. In his end-of-life wisdom, he writes Ecclesiastes and about how all of the “stuff” of this world is just vanity.
Abundance of worldly riches….do you think that is really what God desires for you? Can you handle the temptations and challenges that abundance of worldly riches would bring to your life? Earthly wealth is serious business. It may be God’s love that keeps you from having to deal with this temptation!