Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Thinking About Wealth

Today’s reading gives us a lot of food for thought about wealth and how we use it.

At one time, when I was still an Army wife, we had returned to the United States. We didn’t even have furniture – the military had provided it all our years overseas, and were in the process of picking up a few necessary things – like beds! All we had were some beautiful Oriental carpets, which we had picked up, piece by piece, as we were living overseas.

I would wake up at night and worry about thieves breaking in and stealing my carpets. Then I read Matthew 26: 19 – 21 – this verse:

19″Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I stopped worrying about the carpets. I’ve never worried about them since.

Now, like others, we have watched all the monies we have carefully invested for our retirement dwindle, and it is hard not to despair. And here again, comes a reading to make it clear to us where our real wealth lies. Our “wealth” is only on paper – it doesn’t really exist until we buy or sell. Our real wealth is what we are storing, day by day, towards our next life.

This reading is from Forward Day by Day:

Luke 12:13-31. So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.

How often have you interrupted a preacher during a sermon? Probably never. In today’s story, a man interrupts Jesus while he is still preaching. Perhaps Jesus sniffed greed behind the man’s question as he responded with a parable about the right attitude to riches.

Advertisers try to convince us that good food, comfortable homes fitted with all modern conveniences, a healthy bank balance, and no financial worries are the stuff of which the good life is made. Jesus, who came that we may “have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), warns that an abundance of possessions cannot secure for us this abundant life.

Yet there is no condemnation of riches. It is not because of riches that the man in the parable is labeled a fool, but because wealth, rather than God, took first place in his life. The rich man’s barns overflowed with perishable grain, but he was spiritually bankrupt, for he had failed to store up imperishable riches in heaven by wise and generous use of his wealth.

God’s concern is not ownership (what we have) but stewardship (what we do with what we have). To be truly rich, be rich towards God.

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November 1, 2008 - Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Living Conditions, Spiritual

5 Comments »

  1. I don’t know what it is about the Middle East that attracts you insane lunatics. Don’t be vain and be grateful for this life that you have rather that wishing for a magical second one.

    Oh well, the idea of all those Kuwaitis burning in hell must be quite enticing.

    There is only this life.

    Comment by The Wise One | November 1, 2008 | Reply

  2. Good luck, wise one.

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 1, 2008 | Reply

  3. God has always hated the idea of man storing up treasures. This if you bring it down to logic, makes sense that storing up treasures limits wealth supply and distribution therefore having more poor people since access to wealth is limited.

    Comment by error | November 1, 2008 | Reply

  4. Personally, I feel the only sin in wealth is the expectation that wealth *IS* your life…
    I have been a pauper, a preacher, a poet and a liar. none hath made me so wealthy as Love.

    Comment by Byte-Stryke | November 1, 2008 | Reply

  5. I think you are right, Error. He has made it very clear that material wealth is transitory – and haven’t we all had that lesson brought home vividly, time and time again as financial markets rise and fall, material goods rot, are stolen, dissolve back into sand or flood, etc. Jesus/Issa said that the kingdom of heaven is right here, now, if we have the eyes to see. I’m still seeking to develop those eyes. 🙂

    ByteStryke – Interesting – the act of loving, or being loved?

    Comment by intlxpatr | November 2, 2008 | Reply


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