I was reminded this morning that it’s Masters Week as I left for an early breakfast meeting to discover sign-holders on Washington Road looking for tickets before the sun had even risen. I am guessing this is one of the highest revenue-earning weeks of the year for Augusta businesses as people from around the world populate our city for a chance to walk the Augusta National. For many Augusta natives, it is an easy opportunity to generate extra cash by participating in a shuttle service or renting out your house for the week. Economically, Masters is good for our city.
The Bible speaks of the importance of getting rich: Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness (Proverbs 8:18). It affirms our pursuit of obtaining and storing up things of value. But most importantly, God’s definition of value has far less to do with the quantity of one’s earnings and more to do with the quality of what one is earning. The Proverbs verse quoted above is not actually about money but about wisdom (v. 12). Scripture speaks of an “enduring wealth” that is “better than gold, even fine gold, and…choice silver” (Proverbs 8:19). Now it is certainly right to recognize the importance of money and our need to be wise in how we work for and manage our finances, but Scripture teaches us that there is a much higher wealth to pursue than the dollar.
It would seem that Scripture does not find our desire to get rich as too strong, but too weak. C.S. Lewis famously said,
“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Lewis is speaking to the quickness with which we are pleased with material things when we were made to drink from a much deeper fountain, namely, God Himself. How trivial is that which is made compared to the one Who made it! Most incredibly, God has not confined his creation to only know and enjoy created things, but to know the Uncreated One Himself:
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:1-4).
To have all the money in the world but to lack God is poverty. For our children to have the highest education for a solid career while not being told the rich promises of God is parental neglect. Wealth in economic terms is quite small compared to the lavish treasure we have in the Lord. By all means, earn money, but look much higher than wealth and possessions. Don’t be so poor that all you have is money. Get rich in wisdom and the knowledge of God.
…but to those who are called…Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God. -1 Corinthians 1:24