Counter-Cultural Truth: Wealth Is Dangerous.

I spent the majority of my childhood in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the Indy 500. I grew up in an environment of cars and in particular, cool and fast ones. However, I’ve never owned a cool car nor a fast one.

Except once.

When our children were in junior high school, we bought a used Audi. Gold-flake factory paint job. I knew almost nothing about Audi’s and still don’t. But it was beautiful. It had intermittent wipers and electric windows. They weren’t standard equipment until the 1980’s, and this was the first time I’d ever owned a car with those two features. It was cool to lower and raise the windows without cranking them. I remember sitting in the Audi one day, waiting to pick up my son. It was lightly raining. I turned on the variable speed wipers. Ah, luxury! The result of this is that when I pulled up at stop lights, I began to feel superior to the owners of other vehicles who were driving obviously inferior vehicles

That’s when I knew I had to trade it in for another car, an act for which my son has humorously yet to forgive me. Ownership of that accumulation of metal and plastic was beginning to cause pride to rise in me. So, we returned to owning what some consider boring cars. Ever since we have opted for practicality over beauty and status.

My wife and I now live in a small town in which many of the inhabitants are wealthy. We see Porsches, Teslas, Land Rovers, Audis, and Mercedes Benz’s on our streets every day. We are not wealthy, and we bought our small condo when this city was not so well known and real estate wasn’t as expensive. We are so thankful to the Lord for bringing this to pass. At the time, it was all we could afford anywhere in our hometown, even after looking at places in what is known to some as Felony Flats.

Since those Audi days, I have begun to consider how we Americans and others around the world attach their identities to fancy automobiles. Aren’t they all just vehicles manufactured to convey us to work and to market? No. They are status symbols. However, I understand the feeling of superiority over others, as shallow as that is. The Audi taught me that lesson.

Wealth can be a dangerous thing. It can cause Christians to fail in their obedience to Scripture. In Jesus’ parable of the Sower, He talks about four kinds of soil into which seeds are sown. About the third soil, He said,

“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” (Matthew 13:22). 1

Riches are deceitful and may cause us to reject certain truths in Scripture.

The Apostle Paul wrote,

“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” (1 Timothy 6:9).

Is it a sin to be rich? No. But it is dangerous, and those rich among us—and almost all Americans are rich by the world’s standards—should take heed.

In the Book of Luke, Jesus told a parable about a man who had an abundant harvest. This is how he reacted to that blessing:

“I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry’” (Luke 12:18–19).

This how the Lord responded to the rich man.

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20–21).

Jesus was helping us understand that riches may cause us to feel self-sufficient and no longer in need of God. He also wants us to know there is nothing evil or sinful about riches. It is our attitude about them that matters. Wealth has the potential to bring spiritual ruin. We must take heed.

Lord, please help us and give us wisdom how to live as Your devoted followers in a world that exalts wealth.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gid courtesy giphy.com

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