Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
In truth, the one who fears the Lord is the one who is wealthy, and the one without such fear is impoverished. To truly fear the Lord is to believe in Christ; to believe in Christ is to be born of God, adopted as his child, made an heir of the glories of God’s kingdom. It is to possess an inheritance that “is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4) for the possessor. It is to be reconciled with your Maker; it is to be relieved of the burden of guilt; it is to be set free from the bondage of sin; it is to experience the full love of God. Will I trade having a nice car and a large bank deposit for such riches? Does not the very question sound absurd?
And yet we Christians often act as though these riches are not enough. Our attitude is “That’s nice, God, but what would really make me happy is _______.” The treasure of material prosperity is never secure. The wealthiest persons have lost their riches. Material prosperity brings with it the ever constant need to guard that prosperity, to protect from thieves, to withstand competitors. But more to the point is that it cannot bring peace, happiness, or true fulfillment. The wealthy have all the emotional troubles of the poor; indeed, their wealth can produce troubles in their families and other relationships. Their wealth can create stress.
But worse, wealth can create blindness and a false sense of security. It can dull the soul, making it seem that peace exists through material security and luxury. It can make the possessor addicted to it, so that he will trade his soul for physical pleasure and security. He is impoverished indeed who holds on to what he cannot keep and gives up what would have given eternal joy and peace.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org