There are many dangers associated with the pursuit of wealth. Solomon, arguably the richest monarch to ever rule over an earthly kingdom, warns of the danger posed by wealth in the book of Proverbs.
“He who trusts in riches will fall…” (11:28).
“Riches are not forever…” (27:24).
“Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it” (23:4).
“He who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished” (28:20).
Pursing spiritual riches is a different matter altogether. Timothy was told to “Instruct those who are rich in this world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” Then, he adds: “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed” (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
Two words that seem to flow together in the Bible are the words good and works. Jesus says, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). Again, in Ephesians 2:10, we read: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
God calls His people to good works. Every new day is another opportunity to be involved in good works. A life marked by good works is practical evidence that we understand and appreciate the death of Jesus for us on the cross. Paul explains that Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:14). Christ redeemed us for good works.
The most famous rich man of all time is not even called by name. He is simply referred to as “a certain rich man.” We do not know how much money he possessed, only that he “habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, gaily living in splendor every day” (Lk. 16:19). The Bible says that, living at his gate, was a certain poor man by the name of Lazarus. Lazarus was a beggar whose body was covered with open sores. He was so utterly helpless that he could not even stop the dogs from licking his wounds. In spite of his daily opportunity to help, the rich man made no effort to come to this man’s aid. But, after he died, the rich man “lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Lk. 16:23). Opportunities neglected today become tomorrow’s regrets. It is one thing to die rich, it is quite another thing to die rich in good works.