Dealing with Wealth; July 6, 2017

1 Kings 10:1 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions.

This story is a Hollywood favorite, because it has all the themes they like to use. I’m not sure how many movies have actually been made of it, but for movies with a Biblical source, it’s probably second only to the Exodus. However, Hollywood dwells on the wealth and the sex, and not on what this first verse says. (There is a strong tradition that one of the things Solomon gave her that she asked for (verse 13) was an heir, who became the progenitor of Ethiopian Jews.) This verse, however, talks about Solomon’s “relation to the name of the Lord.” What Solomon had prayed for the temple was definitely coming to pass. It was evident that all of Solomon’s wisdom and glory were from the Lord, but he clearly got distracted by all the glitter and forgot where it came from. Having no limits (Ecclesiastes 2:10) isn’t good for human beings! We have the secular proverb that “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I don’t know if we would say that Solomon was absolutely corrupted, but he certainly did himself in by focusing on the flesh, on the things of this world. Paul got it right when he said, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) That’s the way to true joy and satisfaction, rather than the nihilistic dead end that Solomon found.

I’ve never had to deal with great wealth. The joke says, “I’d like to give it a try,” but I’m not so sure I would. There have been times when more money would definitely have made things easier for me, but I’m not sure easier would have been better in the long run. I’m dealing with someone right now who has never had any financial worries, and frankly, I feel sorry for them. Their view of life and of people is definitely skewed, and not for the better. The constraints of age are upon them, and they can’t grasp that money won’t fix it, nor should it. Right now as a church we are in the position of God pouring out funds to us for something He wants us to do, but the money is just numbers. I need to be sure it stays that way! I don’t know where all the necessary funds are going to come from, but I have great peace and assurance that they will be there when needed. My task is to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, (Matthew 6:33) and not be distracted by the tools I am given to that end.

Father, thank You for this very timely reminder. This church, and frankly, Cathy and I, are known for our relation to You. May our actions and words consistently be as You desire, drawing people to You and giving You glory, so that many may come from death to life, in a chain reaction that will impact the city, the nation, and the world. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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