I am not the only one who wants to see me obtain riches. The God of heaven also wants me to be rich. He wants the same for you, too. Do you believe that?
Before I proceed, let me assure you that I am not in any sense advocating a “Prosperity Gospel” or some type of “Health and Wealth Gospel.” Some religious charlatans claim that if we serve the Lord faithfully, then He will bestow upon us good physical health and financial prosperity. That message may sound appealing, and it may attract some unsuspecting people, but the reality is, the Bible does not teach it. The truth is, in the New Testament we read that some first-century saints were faithful in God’s service, yet they were poor from a financial standpoint (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). Other committed servants of the Lord faced health challenges (2 Timothy 4:20).
Still, I stand by what I said: I want to be rich. If we are not suggesting that God promises to pour out great heaps of material riches on His servants, to what do we refer when we openly admit that we have a desire to be rich? We speak of being rich in a spiritual sense.
Jesus came into this world in order to make you and me rich. Why would we claim such a thing? Read this: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Our Lord humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:6,7). Through His lowliness and humiliating death, we can be rich in Him. Paul used those facts to motivate the Christians in Corinth to give sacrificially to the Lord’s Cause.
Jesus invites every person to come to Him to find rest for their souls (Matthew 11:28). His Father has prepared all spiritual blessings for mankind. And where are those spiritual blessings available? In the Christ (Ephesians 1:3). If I am in the Lord, I am rich – I have all spiritual blessings as I live the abundant life that He provides (John 10:10). Jesus told His suffering disciples in Smyrna, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich . . .” (Revelation 2:9). They were poor in a financial sense, but abundantly rich through Jesus on the spiritual side.
Right-thinking people, if they had to choose, would choose spiritual riches over material riches any day of the week. Jesus told a parable about a certain rich man who seemed to trust in himself and material possessions. His crops were bountiful, but God called him a fool and said his soul would be taken while His material things would be left behind. Jesus concluding remarks about that man’s scenario were: “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21). Unwise people are stuff-oriented; wise folks are “rich toward God,” making their relationship with Him the top priority of their life. When God is in first place in our thinking and plans and we walk with Him, we are immeasurably rich!
The Lord wants us to be rich in faith. If that is what He wants, then that is what we should desire, too! As James wrote about the need to avoid partiality in our dealings with others, he asked, “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5). Notice the connection of these three items: rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom, and love God. More than once, the Master spoke about His disciples being people “of little faith” (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31). Let us strive to be rich in faith, trusting in God with all our heart (Proverbs 3:5).
Another area of richness to which Christians are called is to be rich in good works. Timothy was instructed to charge those who are counted as rich in worldly goods, “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18). Because all children of God “are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10), the idea of being rich in good works certainly is not limited to those with great material possessions. Doing good for others is not so much about the size of our money pile as it is about the size of our heart. Carrying out some good works might involve substantial financial costs, but other good works may simply require the investment of time, a serving heart, a listening ear, or using a hand to write or type a message.
There is another beautiful aspect of richness which we ought to consider. Paul described himself and other disciples in this manner: “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10). Paul counted himself as a rich person (“possessing all things”). And what else? His heart rejoiced because he had a part in “making many rich.” Does he mean that he was giving advice about stock investment or conducting weekend “How to Make a Bunch of Money and Retire Early” seminars? No. Well, how was he making other folks rich? By teaching them the gospel and helping them get into the Christ, where they would become new creatures and enjoy all spiritual blessings, including eternal life!
Thank God that we can enjoy and proclaim “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
— Roger D. Campbell