Men love wealth. It promises power and control to those who acquire it, security from famine, and hope in sickness or injury. Wealth promises pleasure and fulfillment in life, happiness, and ease in the time of retirement. It promises to alleviate the sorrows that have come in the wake of sin, and stave off death, the great enemy, for just awhile longer. Who is there that is not by nature attracted to such a promise?
But wealth is a wily sort of creature. Riches “certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5). They fly away and are gone, leaving but a few light feathers. Like the hungry cat whose eyes are riveted on a bird, so is man in pursuit of wealth. Unlike a cat, man’s appetite for wealth is never satisfied. Adam’s fall into sin has left man with very greedy, but slippery fingers. Wealth swoops before the eyes of man flashing its brilliant colors. When caught, at last, more riches flock in to excite more desire and to mock man. The result is a feeding frenzy. Man scrambles here and there, he tramples anything in his way, he lurches and grasps, he devises ingenious means to capture wealth. Though his pleasures and luxuries increase, he grows desperate because his heart is void of true happiness and peace. Soon he will die. Wealth stares back with cold mocking eyes and a silly grin. It flies away, laughing and chattering like a monkey.
“Cease from thine own wisdom” God commands (Proverbs 23:4). Proud man can not do that of himself. He will not be distracted even by the voice of God. By nature he abhors and hates the voice of God. He knows that what God says is true: “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?”
Peace and happiness in riches does not exist. But he hates God, and tries harder to “prove” his own wisdom. Only when God looks upon His children, redeemed and cleansed in Christ, and in mercy and love sovereignly turns their heart toward Himself, does the sinner see his folly. What is there that can compare to God? Wealth is nothing when the blessedness of holy covenant friendship with God is experienced. And salvation will not make itself wings and fly away toward heaven. No, God is ever faithful and true. He bears us on eagles wings and takes us to be with Himself. With gladness the child of God ceases from his own wisdom.
Take hold of the wealth God gives your and by the grace of God make it your servant. We are called as servants to use our earthly wealth and possessions in service to God. He is the king. All riches are His. We are the servants with whom He entrusts these riches. He gives unto us wisdom to do with them as we judge proper in light of His word. Never must the possessions we have become our master to control and mock us.
The child of God receives a new heart that loves God, but the old man of sin that loves power and pleasure for oneself remains. We must fight against the temptation to rely on our own wisdom and labor to be rich. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. Pray that God will so strengthen your faith that you find it a great joy to give of your riches to the churches and schools. God is pleased to use the means of church, home, and school to gather His people. God is pleased also to use the money He gives to maintain the earthly needs of these institutions as they carry out the work God demands. ❖