Focal Passages: Proverbs 16:16; 22:1-2; 23:4-5; 28:20; 30:7-9; 13:11; 15:27; 20:17; 21:6; 22:16; 28:6, 8, 24; 3:9-10; 11:28; 16:8
If I had a dollar for every time my dad quoted, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches” (Proverbs 22:1a, KJV), I could afford a rather nice dinner this evening. He quoted this verse among others to remind me that many things in life are worth more than a dollar. Unfortunately, modern American culture seems to affirm another quote, “It’s all about the Benjamins!” This quest for financial gain leads people to cash in even their integrity to make money. The greedy drug lord enslaves both dealers and clients, and doesn’t care that he is destroying their lives, families and futures. Our country has multiple lotteries and other forms of gambling that destroy more fortunes and futures than they will ever create, because the government’s hunger for money is fed by the citizen’s love of money. Most people who try get-rich-quick schemes get poor quickly, and the few that manage to fulfill their lust for wealth forget that someday soon their money will make wings for itself and fly away (Proverbs 23:5). Often funeral directors and pastors are the only people who see the little drawer in the lids of some coffins. Sadly, some people take jewelry and other valuables to the grave, but they never take them to their final destination, be it heaven or hell.
One of the greatest evangelistic challenges we face is witnessing to wealthy people. How do we tell people who want for nothing that they lack what matters most? Jesus did not hesitate to tell the rich, young ruler that he lacked one thing. Imagine his disappointment as he prepared to check the last thing off his self-righteous list only to hear that he needed to sell all that he had and give the money to the poor in order to have treasures in heaven (Matthew 19:22). The Bible says he walked away grieving because he had great wealth. Instead of using his wealth to honor the Lord, wealth had become an idol that kept him from the Lord. He chose what was temporally valuable but eternally worthless.