The Christian life isn’t about material things. It’s not about having nice cars, a big house, and a huge bank account. Have wealthy people followed God? Yes. Have poor people followed God? Yes, too.
Abraham ended up wealthy. David was wealthy after he became king. So was Solomon. Job was wealthy as well. But we also have examples of people with very little. Elijah didn’t have much. Neither did John the Baptist. Jesus Himself described His own poverty to make a point to those who would follow Him. Paul was a bivocational minister to help fund his church.
Therefore, what we can conclude about wealth is that it’s not significantly important in God’s view. In fact, it can keep us from God, which is why we have to be careful of any message regarding God blessing us. Some would take a blessing to mean material things. However, when I read Scripture, usually blessings have little to do with material wealth. When folks only talk about blessings being related to material things, I am reminded of this command:
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” – Matthew 19:21, ESV
This is a verse from Jesus’ encounter with a rich young man. We know that the following verse tells us that the man went away very sad, because he had many possessions. Then Jesus gives us a warning about the shackles with which wealth can bind us:
“Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:24, ESV
Those verses leave little doubt that God doesn’t want all of His followers to be wealthy. Jesus commanded the young man to sell everything and then to give away all the proceeds. The man’s wealth was keeping him from a relationship with Jesus Christ. After all, that’s what Jesus was offering! Jesus offerred the young man the same thing He offered Paul and Andrew, James and John, and all the rest of the men we now call Apostles! That puts the command in perspective. But because of the man’s great wealth, he could not see the blessing he was being offered.
Real wealth is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Real wealth can’t be summed up on a balance sheet, collected, or hoarded. Yet too often that’s what we want to settle for: stuff. God offers more because He offers Himself. A lot of times that stuff gets in the way. We become enamored with it. We want more of it. And we want less of God. We want less of the real wealth. Don’t be like that rich young man. Be like Peter and Andrew and James and John. Choose walking with Christ, talking with God, developing an authentic relationship with Him over material things. Choose real wealth.