I discussed material riches in part 1 and developed the theme in Chasing Camels, and here is the next step in my thinking.
“He lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God”
This partial verse from Luke is from the parable of the ‘Rich Fool.’ Luke 12:13-21
The Parable talks of a man who is basically storing material wealth up for himself so he can “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
Whilst it is no-doubt sensible to be prudent and a good steward of the gifts God gives by having some money saved for children or to ensure we aren’t a burden on other people, the key phrase in the Luke passage is “rich toward God”, this means God is my riches.
How does that work?
I think it is twofold.
Firstly that we break our desperate attachment to money by giving more away, James has good advice where and how to start this process.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
And then, to seek God, not the gifts he offers. It is more important to remember to ‘seek the giver, not the gift’.
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Knowing God, being completed by God, finding satisfaction, joy, comfort, gratification, refreshment, serenity in our relationship with God is what being ‘rich toward God means’.
It means making God the most important part of our lives and giving him not only 10%, not even only the best bits but everything.
This is also about surrendering to God, being submitted to God in all aspects of our lives.
God wants us to be rich – rich towards him.
I’m not there yet, don’t think I am saying I’m perfect, far from it, but my day starts with the following prayer, every morning. Over the years, it has really helped.
“Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonour the name of my God.”
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