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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE RICHES OF HAVING LITTLE

Psalm 37:16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

Read the entire Psalm 37. Study it diligently. It will show you the riches that can be found in this life, and especially in the life to come, by trusting in God and leading a life obedient to His will. Conversely, it will show you the depravity and utter destruction found in trusting in the riches of this world and leading a life of self-willed indulgence.

All too often, as young families are begun and careers are started, goals are set to accumulate wealth. Earning a living in the job market is good. Accumulating wealth is also good. As a matter of fact, it is a God-given responsibility to use your talents to their fullest extent. Many times, as success comes and wealth is accumulated, we lose sight of its source. Deuteronomy 8:17 tells us this can, and often does, take place. It reads, And thou say in thine heart, my power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. Immediately in verse 18, this false idea of self-sufficiency is put in its place as God, through Moses says, But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth. It is God that has given each person the power, or ability, to gain wealth during their lifetime on earth. You would be wasting God's gifts if you did not use your talents to their fullest. Error on our part comes when we take the credit for our material success instead of giving God the glory and praise for all that you are fortunate enough to accumulate during your lifetime here on earth.

Rupert Murdock gained much wealth in a variety of investments, while the Rockefeller family became wealthy in the oil industry, as did the Ford family in automobile manufacturing. The Walton family accumulated great wealth in retail marketing through Wal-Mart stores and other marketing outlets. Bill Gates' fortune was the result of innovations in the computer industry. The list of "successful" individuals and families cannot be exhausted.

With the possible exception of the ultraconservative Rupert Murdock, take a look at what rich people have: Homes that are considered to be mansions, the most expensive automobiles, silver and gold, stocks, bonds and other investments, diamonds and jewelry, fashionable clothing and expensive shoes, swimming pools, tennis courts, private airplanes, hired men and maid servants, and chauffeurs. These sound like dreams, and, to most people, are things most desire. And, of themselves, they are not evil or sinful, as long as they are not gained through deception, fraud, or other deceitful and sinful ways.

However, those that have become rich have another God-given responsibility. They are to use their wealth as God would have them use it, rather than in a selfish way. This righteous responsibility is the stumbling block for most wealthy individuals. This is demonstrated in the parable of the talents. Regardless of what one has, they are responsible to God for its use. Why? Because, as noted in Deuteronomy 8:18, it is God that giveth thee power to get wealth. Therefore, the wealth gained by this power also belongs to God. Wealth does not belong to the one that accumulates it. We are merely stewards, or guardians, of the wealth gained by using our God-given talents. Psalm 48:10 reminds us that it is temporary because it must be left behind at death. Not only is wealth temporary, it has no saving power. Verses 6 and 7, of Psalm 48, indicate that wealth cannot save us, nor can it be used to purchase salvation for others.

Our lesson text says that there are wicked people that are rich in worldly goods. Whether they were wicked in how they accumulated their wealth or whether they were wicked because they were not good stewards of their riches, we are not told. Nor does it make any difference. The fact that they are wicked eliminates them from the eternal salvation of their souls. Psalm 11:5-6 tells us that God hates the soul of the wicked, and that wicked souls will be punished for eternity. On the other hand, God loves the righteous (Psalm 11:7), and they will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13:43). Although one may be poor in worldly goods they can still be rich in good works that will lead to eternal life. Being righteous and having little is far better that being wicked and rich. Trust should be placed in God, not in riches.1 Timothy 6:17-19 is a text that should be studied thoroughly - commit it to memory - in it is eternal life!