In a materialistic and wealth driven society acquiring wealth is viewed as being synonymous with winning on all levels. But is it really? The wealthy are lauded and praised, but the poor and needy are frowned upon and viewed with malice and disdain in a society where being successful and acquiring wealth, epitomizes wealthy individuals as superior, wiser, more knowledgeable and better on all levels. But are they really? Believing you are somehow superior to others, just because you are more successful or better off financially or more academically advanced Is really naive and ignorant to say the least.
And actually sporting an intellectually superior attitude,which is a by product of intellectual vanity,as a result of academic accomplishment, achievement and advancement, is in reality one of the most blinding,corrupting and destructive forms of pride.That type of arrogant attitude, fueled by pride,has produced some of the most ignorant, heartless,misguided,uncaring,evil men and women in history. And is reflective of a person who is lacking wisdom and basic knowledge about what’s most important in the eyes of God.
The bible says the little that a righteous man has is better than the wealth of many wicked Psalm 37:16. And it’s interesting that the verse says the little that the righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked, not just one wicked person, but many. And why does it make that statement? It appears to suggest the wealth of many wicked amounts to nothing in comparison to the little the righteous man has.
The truth of the matter is the bible makes that powerful statement because in the eyes of God righteous character and behavior will be praised and rewarded regardless of the persons financial or academic status. And abominable evil, and corrupt behavior, will reap spiritual death in the end. No matter how much wealth the wicked man or woman had accumulated in this life, or how much he or she had accomplished in this life, Mark 8:36,Matthew 16:26.The bible gets more specific and detailed in Psalms chapter 37 about the ultimate fate of the wicked, that fate is further confirmed by numerous other verses in scripture.
The truth of the matter is showing love, compassion and fairness, to the poor and needy produces mercy when judged, not viewing the poor with disdain and disgust. Actually showing no love or compassion produces the opposite when judged Proverbs 10:12, Matthew 5:7, Matthew 25:31-46, James 2:13. The wise and compassionate thing to do would be to share some of the wealth with the individuals that person has maybe stepped on, and taken advantage of to acquire the wealth they so richly covet.
To disperse some of the wealth, they have acquired by ill gotten gain,without an ulterior motive,as a means to help those who are suffering and in need.This in many respects acts as a buffer and deterrent to condemnation when judged, Proverbs 10:12, Matthew 5:7, Matthew 25:31-46, James 2:13. But to hoard wealth when you see suffering all around you, but refuse to lift a finger to help or ease that suffering when you have it in your power to do so, most certainly leads to harsh judgment and condemnation when you face God Matthew 25:31-46,James 2:13.
Acquiring a level of wealth in this physical life certainly has a level of importance in terms of financial security. But to elevate accomplishment and wealth gain, above the development of spiritual character, is absolutely foolish.The truth of the matter is spiritual growth and the development of godly character, should be first in terms of priority, along with accomplishing goals.
The bible says seek you first the kingdom and his/God’s righteousness and all these other things (through effort and in accordance with his will first and foremost) shall be added unto you Matthew 6:33. In reality many are winning big in terms of accomplishments and wealth creation, but are losing just as much spiritually, because of the level of sin and rebellion they are willing to engage in, as it relates to hurting others and offending God to be successful and acquire wealth. That’s why the bible asks in Mark 8:36 “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul’?
Teaching yourselves and your children to set goals and be goal oriented is a good thing. But deceiving oneself and teaching children to be materialistic, selfish, greedy, and to acquire wealth and success at all costs, no matter who you hurt,or how much you offend God, in your quest for success and wealth, is absolutely foolish and ill advised. Some also believe you can equate strength with accomplishment and I would suppose there is a certain level of strength required to accomplish things in life, like goals, etc. I think a level of mental and or physical strength (depending on the task) is required to accomplish goals. But mental strength or physical strength don’t necessarily equate to spiritual strength.
Spiritual strength which is certainly the most important and powerful category of strengths out of the primary four, which are physical, emotional,mental and spiritual. In fact godly spirituality cultivates and supersedes all the others. Supposing that accomplishment alone determines strength I believe is a bit ignorant and naive.There are numerous examples of men and women who had accomplished much in life only to have their lives spiral completely out of control because they weren’t grounded and established spiritually.
Howard Hughes, Jimmy Hendrix, Billy Holiday,Mackenzie Phillips,O.J. Simpson, Amy Winehouse, etc, are just some examples. All very accomplished and successful individuals in their respective fields. But all because of their lack of spiritual character and strength lived to simply see their lives spiral completely out of control. Their lack of spiritual strength made them all vulnerable to the many self destructive pulls of the flesh in the world that challenge and try us all.
Many successful well accomplished individuals have fallen by the wayside because of lack of spiritual character. Hardly examples of strength,character and steadfastness in my opinion. Even now there are many accomplished individuals in different fields who are very successful and who generate massive incomes, but at the same time are shackled and enslaved by sexual addiction, drug addiction, addicted to money and material things, etc .
And who are living unstable, misguided and destructive lives. According to the bible, and based on examples of biblical patriarchs and conversely based on the lives of carnal, successful, accomplished individuals, as examples. True strength is clearly the result of spiritual growth and godly character, not material and academic success or accomplishment alone.
The bible tells us such individuals who adopt an aggressive approach in pursuing wealth and their selfish desires at all costs fall into a snare and many hurtful and foolish lusts, ie money/sex/drugs etc, which drown men and women in physical and spiritual destruction 1 Timothy 6:6-12. Because abominable behavior and the fruits of it whether it’s motivated by money lust or whatever, will be judged and unfortunately it reaps spiritual destruction.
The righteous are instructed to flee these things and follow after righteousness,godliness,faith,love, patience and meekness. Which are all fruits of a godly spirit Galatians 5:19-24. God’s spirit which imparts godly wisdom and knowledge, which guides the righteous man equipped with the spirit of God and God’s word, on how to navigate and avoid destructive behaviors that continue to corrupt and destroy millions of very accomplished, but misguided, and spiritually weak men and women today, as it has throughout history.
The fact of the matter is millions of spiritually weak men and women have fallen by the wayside,and have been caught in snares and consumed by their own self destructive lusts and habits, regardless of the amount of money or material things they had accumulated, or the many goals they had accomplished. According to the bible and based on numerous examples of failed, accomplished lives, material accomplishment alone clearly does not define strength or winning.
And sadly and unfortunately all the evil and destructive behavior, the greedy and selfish engaged in to acquire wealth and success, follows them in the resurrection to judgment Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, John 5:28-29,Romans 2:6-10,Romans 2:11-16, Revelation 20:11-15. Those who considered not God or the feelings of others in their quest for success and wealth will be judged and punished accordingly.
And nothing any of them had accomplished on a physical level will count for anything if it was contrary to God. Nor is it or will it ever be viewed as strength or winning, but in reality losing, in a big way,when its all said and done, both physically and spiritually, when they face God in the judgment. Deuteronomy 7:10, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14,Psalms 21:8-9, Psalms 37:16, Malachi 4:1, Matthew 13:49-50, Matthew 16:26,Mark 8:36-37, John 3:16-21, St John 5:28-29, Romans 2:6-10,Romans 2:11-16, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11, 1 Timothy 6:6-12,Revelation 20:11-15, Revelation 21:7-8.
By Donald Bohanon