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Riches and Poverty

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"

(Mark 8:36 ESV)

The world's concept of riches and poverty is framed around material wealth. While there are undoubtedly very grave issues connected with material poverty and lack, and God has a deep heart for the poor, the Bible's take on real riches and poverty is quite different.

In Matthew 19:24, Jesus remarks “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” (ESV). It is a comment that alarms his disciples, but a theme Jesus expresses again through the story of the rich man and the beggar.

Here, Jesus shows that those who enjoy material blessing in this life, but whose hearts are far from God, will understand ultimately the futility of their pennies where they have neglected what is of true worth (read Luke 16:19-30). What the rich man failed to grasp is that real riches are not material. Real riches are a life pointed to God, a heart transformed by the Holy Spirit and bearing fruit for him. Lazarus the beggar, though poor in monetary terms, understood the meaning of life and was rewarded in eternity.

Jesus is not saying that wealth or comfort are wrong (if acquired honestly), but that they should not be our focus, motivation or security. Nor a source of pride. Instead, Matthew 6 instructs us to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to us.

One day, Jesus will return for his people. If he is to recognise us as his own, we must possess the inner wealth of a life lived in him. Worldly wealth is not true treasure and can be extremely damaging if it creates in us a complacency and false security. In Revelation, the Lord is clear that the lukewarm, made so by their wealth, will be spewed out from his kingdom. “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and need nothing, not realising that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17 ESV).

Jesus turns the world's thinking on its head and opens a better way. They that boast of their "blessed lives" of wealth and gold are extremely poor if wealth has robbed them of the treasure that truly counts (see Mark 4:18-19). "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul?”

Copyright © Sharmila Meadows 2021

Scripture quotations are from The ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Alice H.
Alice H.

Merci pour ce message qui me rappelle où je dois placer mon coeur en premier.


Merci sincèrement. Oui, parfois le Seigneur nous mène dans un chemin pour voir où habite notre coeur et surtout notre sécurité. Vois aussi Jérém 33:1-9. Bises!


Dear Readers, thanks for visiting The Mission Post. How do you feel about Jesus' teachings on the "deceitfulness of wealth"? Have you found that it creates a complacency, which can erode your faith or walk with the Lord? Discuss!

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