Jesus had a lot to say about wealth. There was a story about a rich man and a poor man
named Lazarus. Each had his own reward. The rich man in this life, and the poor man in the
next. The lesson has something to say regarding immediate versus delayed gratification.
Christ also told a parable about a wealthy farmer who had an exceptional year. He built
larger barns in which to store his grain. Unfortunately, his life ended before he could enjoy his
In addition, there was a question about taxes. Jesus’ recommendation was to pay what
the Roman emperor demanded and to give God His due.
A rabbi offered this wisdom regarding wealth: “When a baby comes into the world, its
hands are clenched, right? Like this?”
He made a fist.
“Why? Because a baby, not knowing any better, wants to grab everything, to say, ‘The
whole world is mine.’
“But when an old person dies, how does he do so? With his hands open. Why? Because
he has learned the lesson.”
He stretched open his empty fingers.
“We can take nothing with us.” (From Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom)
The preceding story reminded me of a modern-day proverb: Have you ever seen a
hearse pulling a U-Haul? Think about it.
I once heard of a stewardship sermon – you know, the ones in which the pastor talks
about giving to the church – and this particular pastor made the point, “You can’t take it with
you, but you can send it ahead.”
Perhaps the only way one can send it ahead is illustrated by a passage from Luke 12. A
man wanted to become a disciple of Jesus. Jesus, in His omniscience, knew all about the man.
He advised him to sell everything which he had and give the money to the poor.
Doing that, the man could then be a disciple. We are told that the person became sad
because he had many possessions. Jesus remarked that the man, like many others, was not rich
“Rich toward God” is a phrase which is very useful when we take our own spiritual
inventory, as in “Am I rich toward God?”
One of Paul’s power words, along with “Grace” and “Salvation” and “Love,” is “Riches.”
The Apostle always uses that word to refer to spiritual, not material, wealth.
Here is another question to assist with your spiritual assessment. “Where is my
You have two savings accounts – one on earth and one in heaven. Which is larger? If
your earthly treasure is more substantial than your heavenly one, you’re in trouble. More
trouble than you know.
If you trust in God and follow His Son, Jesus Christ, you are rich toward God. And, if you
are rich toward God, your heavenly bank account will someday yield handsome dividends.
May you be rich toward God.
Ken Tubbesing is the pastor of Martin Luther Church south of Johnson, NE