In part one of The Vain Pursuit of Blessings, we talked about blessings pursuing us (often because of a lifestyle of obedience) rather than us pursuing blessings. There is ample evidence that God really desires to bless us. And He will bless different people in different ways. If we pursue the blessings of our choice, we greatly decrease our chances of experiencing superior blessings from God. In part one we focused on the blessing of wealth because seeking it is such a common pastime of Americans, even Christians. And there certainly is nothing wrong with wealth. Wealth is never condemned in the Bible. The problem comes when our priorities are misplaced and we focus on wealth and our lives become all about getting it rather than all about getting close to God. If we become wealthy but are not close to God, our lives are a miserable failure. That is why Jesus told us to seek first His kingdom and righteousness. Let’s briefly review the verses we used from the previous blog:
Now if you faithfully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow His commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will put you far above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come and overtake you, because you obey the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).
Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition (1 Timothy 6:9).
King Solomon also weighs in on the subject:
Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it (Proverbs 23:4).
Jesus seemed to have an opinion on the subject too:
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23).
If we are honest as we read these verses, we have to admit that the pursuit of wealth is discouraged in the Bible. Blessings happen and we should let them happen on schedule, only in accordance with the will of God. It is not the will of God that all become wealthy. Wealth is a major distraction that most can’t handle. Oh, we think we can handle it, but most of us would be negatively affected by wealth.
I can speak from experience here. For years, I made major amounts of money selling real estate, and worked hard and sacrificed things I shouldn’t have to do it. I can say with confidence that nothing good happened because of this wealth. I became more and more sidetracked and spent huge amounts of money on things I never dreamed I would buy. Much of the wealth was squandered and much of it was invested in investments that went south. Eventually, I lost it all and began to think clearly again. While I wouldn’t mind some of that wealth now and then, I don’t miss how shallow my walk with God became because of it. The Lord had better blessings for me than riches, and when I took my focus off riches, they became available to me. The Lord may also have better things than riches waiting for you. Don’t miss those blessings because you are focusing on something YOU want.
We must seek God, not his blessings, and certainly not wealth. If we seek wealth and it is not the will of God we gain that wealth, we will likely be sidetracked by it and unintentionally forego other blessings more suited for us. Let the Blesser choose the blessing in response to the obedience of the blessed. Then we can be assured that the character is there to handle the blessing. Far greater is the blessing in accordance with the schedule and will of God in our lives than some type of “good thing” we can work up in the same way that any unbeliever would. Trust God to know what is best for you. Seek first His kingdom, and the blessings will follow as He sees fit, when He sees fit. And blessings in accordance with the will of God last, bring little hassle, and are not distractions. Rather, they can be a great aid in living our lives to glorify Him and build His kingdom, which ultimately is true wealth and a true blessing.