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Here are some scriptural truths that give me pause when I lay my life along their plumb line:

1 Timothy 6:9. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

After reading this, I asked myself, “Who wants to be rich in America?” Um, most everybody. So who falls into temptation, into snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction?  Um, most everybody.

This should at least cause us to stop a moment and think about the effect that riches have on us.

Here’s another from Matthew 19:23-24:

“Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 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.”

Jesus isn’t talking about going to heaven here. He’s talking about entering into a place of being ruled, the way one would be in His kingdom. However, since we have a share in His kingdom, it’s also about ruling. Both of these aspects of being in a kingdom are hard to do when we are rich. It’s hard to be ruled, because we have the resources to say, “I can cause this to happen myself. I don’t need to depend on God.”  It’s hard to rule for the same reason. Our riches help us, certainly, in certain ways. We very naturally come to depend on them. However, we will eventually be confronted with situations where our riches don’t help at all. We haven’t learned how to rule spiritually, which means we must depend on God and have spiritual power, rather than on our own resources and have earthly power.

Here’s another from Matthew 13:22, the third seed in the parable of the sower:

“As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.”

Riches, Jesus tells us, are deceitful. Almost everyone reading this blog is rich by the world’s standards. Is what Jesus says here true?  Can I consider the possibility that riches are deceitful?  Can I entertain the possibility that I have been deceived by them?

Here’s one that I really don’t like this one from Luke 6:30.  “Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back”

And five verses later it doesn’t get any better:  “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

There are more things that Jesus said about being wealthy that should give us pause. Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16). The rich man who built bigger barns for his crops (Luke 12).

Lord God our Father, please help us here in the West to know how to be the disciples of Your Son, Jesus, as we live in the richness of this culture.

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