Written by Wayne George
In 1851, the Gold Rush officially started in Australia (Bathurst, NSW). Historians tell us that people came from all over the world, caught up in the Gold Fever, and headed to the mine fields to answer the call of possible riches.
There was some good that came out of it however, the negative effects were many:
- Families were split up, as husbands went off to work the mines.
- The indigenous people of Australia were further displaced as their land was taken from them.
- Racism escalated against other nationalities.
- Environmentally, lasting damage was done.
Did some people get rich? Of course they did; but very often it came at great cost and many “pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10).
The wealth-and-prosperity ‘carrot’ is one that continues to be dangled in front of humankind even today. We look at some of the advertising around us and we are led to believe that if we don’t own the biggest and the best, we are not living the true life. We are led to believe that acquiring wealth and setting up private kingdoms is a sign that one is truly living. Many are chasing “fool’s gold” at the expense of storing up riches that will last.
Many to this day make decisions that will move them closer to that proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow.
There are many different opinions surrounding wealth. Some believe wealth is wrong and, if someone has more than enough, he or she should spread it around equally. Others say that wealth is the result of hard work and wise investments, and no one else has any claim to it. At the end of the day, the lens through which one needs to view this issue is the same lens through which we view anything else in order to determine the truth about a matter, viz. the lens of Scripture.
Through this lens of ultimate truth, we explore two key questions that if answered honesty and reflectively, can serve to ground us in uncertain times:
1. Where does my hope lie?
Our guest on the podcast makes an interesting statement – “we tend to worship what holds our future”. How true! How often we place our hope in the temporary and uncertain – having a healthy bank balance, having a ‘super’ Super, etc. Please don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with wanting these things for us or for our families, however, if this desire becomes our sole motivation; if this becomes our driving force and the object of our hope, then this can become the point of derailment. You can certainly have nice things as long as those things don’t have you.
We start running into trouble when we have a misplaced trust/hope in the wealth of this world; when we build our hope upon that which is uncertain, which is here today and gone tomorrow, rather than on that which is eternal. There are few Bible verses that drive that point home as pointedly as this one: “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).
2. Where does my heart lie?
The Bible has a great deal to say about money and wealth, however, the point must not be missed. The point about highlighting wealth and the perils of chasing after it is not so much the wealth itself, but rather the attachment thereto; the place it holds in one’s heart and life. The heart of the matter has always been, and still is, a matter of the heart. After all it’s not money that’s the root of all evil, but rather the love thereof (cf. 1 Timothy 6:10).
When Jesus tells the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-27) to “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” – he is not challenging the young man’s wealth, but rather his love for that wealth. He was inviting that ruler to consider what really was on the throne of his heart. If a moment was taken to address that issue of the heart, and to re-align the placement of his hope and trust, that man’s grip on his wealth would have become a much looser one. If tomorrow all that wealth were to disappear and all he had left was a hope and trust planted in Jesus, then he would have the greatest treasure of all.
In these uncertain times, when so many things, including our finances are under pressure, two key questions and the honest answering thereof, that will help us stay grounded, be good stewards of the treasures we’ve been given; having nice things without those nice things having us are:
- Where does my hope lie?
- Where does my heart lie?