We live in a world that pursues material over spiritual gain. This isn’t a new concept. I’m certain, that as long as there have been humans roaming the earth, that the pursuit of material needs has trumped spiritual pursuits. All throughout the Bible, we read that it’s better to pursue spiritual needs, then the material needs will be addressed. Someone can work their entire life to gain riches. Riches they can’t take with them when they die. The security of wealth is fleeting. It can be taken away in an instant, and the rich person is left in soulless poverty.

Such were my thoughts today when I read this verse from Revelation.

‘In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’
“Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off.”

Revelation 18:17 (NIV)

We know from verse 11 that these are the merchants of the earth lamenting the fall of Babylon which was brought to ruin in just one hour. However, the merchants aren’t the only ones to mourn the fall of Babylon.

“When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “ ‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!'”

Revelation 18:9-10 (NIV)

We might think Babylon was a special case because of the wickedness abounding there. However, we need look no further than one of the most righteous men in the Bible to see that riches are fleeting.

One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

Job 1:13-15 (NIV)

In one day, Job lost all of his wealth and his children.

Those who mourned the fall of Babylon, the kings, merchants, and sea captains, mourned the loss of the wealth they gained from it. Their characters were truly wicked. However, we see a stark difference in Job’s response to his loss.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Job 1:20-21 (NIV)

Job didn’t seek out wealth. Sure, he wanted to prosper as we all would like to. However, Job sought the Lord first, and wealth was a byproduct of seeking God. We have this intelligence from Proverbs.

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

Proverbs 21:21 (NIV)

Job trusted the Lord, and when Job’s wealth left him, he still had his trust in the Lord. Proverbs also reminds us of this.

Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

Proverbs 11:28 (NIV)

Some inaccurately teach that being rich is a sin or that it’s hard for rich people to get into Heaven. After all, didn’t Jesus say it was difficult for the rich to enter into Heaven?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 19:23 (NIV)

Jesus also tells us this about riches.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

It might seem that Jesus was preaching against the acquisition of wealth. Might Jesus have been trying to teach us something more profound?

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Matthew 13:44 (NIV)

No, I don’t believe that Jesus was teaching us that it was wrong to be rich. When Jesus declares how hard it is for the rich to enter into Heaven, He was remarking on how difficult it was for those who trusted in their riches to enter into Heaven. Jesus’ references to treasure were to teach us what true treasure is. It’s not something we can put into a bank, or otherwise measure with human measurements. Real wealth comes from knowing and trusting in God.

There’s nothing that comes from this world that measures up to the salvation we have in Christ. Everything we’ve gained in this world; money, popularity, success, means nothing and has no value once we leave here. This is why we can lose everything and still be the wealthiest people around. Jesus said it best here in Mark.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Mark 8:36 (NIV)

Do you know God? God knows you, and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.