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True riches are spiritual blessings not material blessings. True riches are things money can’t buy. True riches have nothing to do with how much money is in your bank accounts, 401K, IRA, or portfolio. True riches are the spiritual blessings in your heart and God’s grace and favor manifesting in your life. 

Paul wrote the Ephesians, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3, NKJV). In the following verses, Paul listed six specific spiritual blessings: We have been chosen, predestinated, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven “according to the riches of His grace (See Eph. 1:4-7). These are true riches. Material blessings only last as long as we are good stewards over them or we die and leave them to our heirs. Spiritual blessings aren’t affected by the economy, the stock market, interest rates, inflation, or other factors. Spiritual blessings are eternal.

People envy billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos thinking they’ve got it made in the shade. But wait a minute. There is a lot of worry, stress, fear, taxes, and thieves that come with great wealth. Some of the richest people are the most miserable. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, Twitter, and Space X, set a record in 2022 for the most money lost by a single person in history ($180-$200 billion due to a volatile stock market). Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, lost 94% of his wealth in one day causing bankruptcy. Billionaire financier, Thomas H. Lee, was recently found dead in his office in NYC from a self-inflicted, gun-shot wound. “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble” (Pr. 15:16).It can all vanish overnight.

One author noted, “Money can buy you everything but happiness and take you everywhere but heaven.” Money can buy:a bed not sleep, books not brains, food not an appetite, a house not a home, medicine not health, pleasure not peace, amusement not joy, sex not love, a crucifix not a savior, and a church not heaven. Financial guru Dave Ramsey says we all have a disease called “stuffitis!” We love stuff and always want more stuff. Money makes a good servant but a terrible master (Mt. 6:24). It’s not wrong to own nice things; it’s wrong when things own you and become an idol and a barrier between you and God. Jesus taught about proper priorities, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt. 6:19-21).

Does this mean we shouldn’t save and invest for the future? Certainly not because Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” We can’t leave a lasting legacy to our heirs unless we manage money wisely. Rather, it means everything in this life is temporary so don’t let it consume all your time and attention. Focus on spiritual things—true riches! Jesus emphasized this proper balance, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt.  6:33).

The Bible talks a lot about money and teaches us to be wise managers of God-given resources. In fact, about one-third of Jesus’ parables deal with good stewardship. God blesses diligence and hard work not laziness or wastefulness. Wealth originates from God and He gives us the ability to prosper (Dt. 8:18, Ps. 75:6-7). “Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold” (Gen. 13:2). Abraham was abundantly blessed in material things but he was even richer in spiritual things (faith, prayer, and obedience). Make no mistake, God wants us blessed in every area of life— Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 Jn. 1:2).God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:2, “I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.” One of the greatest blessings is to be able to bless others. Truly, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Ac. 20:35).

Some Christians have a narrow view like Baloo the Bear in Jungle Book—they only have faith for God to meet their “bare necessities.” Paul wrote, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). He will also supply some of our wants so long as they are in alignment with His will. El-Shaddai is not the God of barely enough; He is the all sufficient One—the God who is more than enough! Jehovah-Jireh is our provider and He promised, No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Ps. 84:11). Jesus came to give us an abundant life not a mediocre life (Jn. 10:10).

Jesus preached about the blessings of God but He also warned against hoarding and greed. “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15).Then He told the Parable of the Rich Fool (a hoarder) to illustrate His point: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Lk. 12:16-21).

His possessions gave this fat cat a false sense of security. He thought, “It’s time to recline, dine, wine, and shine. I’m going to retire early and live high on the hog.” Notice he didn’t say anything about sharing, giving, or helping the less fortunate. It was all about hoarding things for himself. You see, we are not called to just be containers of God’s blessings; we’re called to be channels of blessings to others.Someone said, “Money is like manure—pile it up and it stinks, but if you spread it around, things grow.”

A man was walking on the beach and found a bottle. He opened it and out popped a genie to grant him one wish. So, he wished for the stock page of the newspaper dated one year later. Poof, he got it, and thought he’d get super rich by investing in all the most profitable stocks. Then he turned the page and saw his own obituary. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mk. 8:36).

Have you ever wondered why the Dead Sea is dead? Because it continually receives but it never gives. The fresh water of the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea but it doesn’t flow out. The salt content is so high no marine life can survive. It is a stagnant cesspool. The Sea of Galilee is fed by the same source and is teeming with marine life because it has an outlet. Are we channels of God’s blessings or just containers? Are we Dead Sea Christians or Sea of Galilee Christians?

Jesus said, If you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” (Lk. 16:11) What are true riches? True riches are things money can’t buy—peace in your mind, harmony in your home, joy in your soul, right standing with God, forgiveness of your sins, health in your body, receiving prayer answers, having your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, helping others in need, seeing God’s favor in your life, and having a clear conscience. So, let’s be rich toward God and lay up treasures in heaven. Remember, hearses don’t have luggage racks or trailer hitches. You can’t take it with you so seek after true riches which are eternal.