The Deceitfulness of Riches

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 
– Matthew 13:22
 
Be on your guard against “the deceitfulness of riches.” Don’t buy the lies that they tell.
  • Riches promise happiness, yet “he who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income” (Eccl 5:10).
  • Riches promise security, so Solomon writes, “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city” (Pv 10:15). Nevertheless, “neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the LORD” (Zeph 1:18). At the very moment when you most need its protection, it will flee from you. Money only offers earthly security; it provides no eternal security. It doesn’t give you what you really need.
  • Riches promise friendship, and so it is written, “The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich have many friends” (Pv 14:20). Yet “the ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threats” (Pv 13:8). Riches make enemies too.
  • Riches promise life, so Christ’s warning implies, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Where then should we look for life if not in wealth? The Lord answers: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He is the one who gives life: “The Son gives life to whom he will” (John 5:21). “I came that they may have life” (John 10:10). The apostle announces that Christ is our life (Col 3:4). Wealth could never provide true life to us. So the rich are exhorted in 1 Timothy 6 to not clutch their wealth, but have an open hand, letting it go, being generous, so that “they may take hold of that which is truly life” (v. 19).
Don’t let money trick you. Wealth lies. Riches lie. Possessions lie. “Christ is all” (Col 3:11).

He Gives Generously to All Without Reproach

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. – James 1:5

God is not stingy or mean-spirited. He “abounds” in steadfast love (Ex 34:6). His people should not fear to bring their supplications and requests to him – whether it be for wisdom or strength or faith or love or patience or zeal or victory over sin or any other good thing. He is not like man, who is prone to hoard all his good things to himself, and when asked to give, does so reluctantly (or doesn’t at all). God is happy to provide help for those who fear him and draw near to him through his Son. He “gives generously to all without reproach.”

But that’s not all. Another fear we may have when asking another person for something is that we will be put to shame. They may say things like, “Why don’t you have this already?” or “You’re always asking to borrow my stuff!” or “Why didn’t you ask for this sooner?” or “I thought you said you were getting along fine without it” or “It took you long enough to figure out you needed this” or other similar things. We fear being reproached for asking. But this fear must simply be done away with when we come before God in sincerity! “He gives generously to all without reproach.” He will not make a mockery of you. He will not chide you for not coming sooner. You will hear no “I-told-you-so”s. The prodigal son did not return home to find his father cross-armed with his foot tapping and a stern look on his face. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

So whether we are lost sinners pleading for grace for the first time or sinful saints pleading for grace for the hundredth time, we do not need to fear coming to God in prayer. Because of Jesus, even though we deserve reproach, we will find none when we come before the throne.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4:16).