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Wealth: A Tool or a Trap? 33 Questions for Reflection

by Evan Keller

Is wealth a tool or a trap? Well, both. Before we can sharpen it into an effective tool to serve others, we have to ask God to free us from the ways that money entraps our hearts. No surprise: with God it always comes down to the heart. Does how we use wealth reveal worship of God or of self? Who’s at the center of our story? The answers expose our two biggest money problems: pride and idolatry. Those may be our most serious and stubbornly entrenched sins – like insidious garden weeds that seem to spring back as quickly as you pull them out. Pride and idolatry sneakily capture our hearts, replacing God as our go-to for security and fulfillment.  

Pride intentionally forgets the source of all abundance. King David admits to God that “wealth and honor come from you” (1 Chronicles 29:12), And pride is only one of many pitfalls of the heart that come with wealth. 

How can I guard my heart from its sinful tendencies? I’ve developed this list of reflection questions to help me do just that in the coming months and years. Please join me in using these to see where our hearts are at, discovering in what we are placing our trust and finding our joy.  Read more

From All About Me to What About Me? A Personal Journey

by Evan Keller

Obviously, it was “all about me” with the “rich fool” (from Luke 12:15-21) we discussed in the previous post; let’s flip now to one whose heart was all about God. We’re jumping from the New Testament to the Old, from a fictional character to a historic one.

King David was much richer in wealth, fame, and power than the nameless “rich man” in Christ’s parable. Yet he saw those accomplishments for what they were: gifts of grace from God. On the other hand, the “rich man” couldn’t see past his inflated view of himself. He didn’t even acknowledge God. Twice in his psalms, David wrote: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). And “fool” is precisely what God calls the “rich man” upon his death in Christ’s parable. Conversely, God called David “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).

Everything Comes from You Lord

Old Testament scholar Christopher Wright explains: “David’s example of putting his personal wealth into the temple project (1 Chronicles 29:2-5) motivates the rest of the leaders to do the same (29:6-8), which then seems to motivate the rest of the people in turn” (29:9). (Christopher Wright, The Righteous Rich in the Old Testament) He prays in disbelief: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14).  Read more

Creating Wealth and Being Rich Towards God

by Evan Keller

Scripture doesn’t condemn wealth, but is very concerned about how we get it, what we do with it, and whether it takes precedence in our hearts above God’s “house”. Gifts from God are not like the new, shiny bike you got for Christmas as a child, meant for you alone. No, gifts that come from God are to you but for others, “not a privilege but a responsibility – the Abrahamic responsibility of being a blessing to others. (Gen. 12:1-3)” (Christopher Wright, The Righteous Rich in the Old Testament)

This message doesn’t quite sit well with us fallen (yet being redeemed) humans. We want our shiny gifts to shine our own reputations. The Apostle Paul knows this, so keeps insisting that gifts are meant to serve the Body of Christ – the church – and bring glory to God. Likewise, the Old Testament prophet, Haggai asks: “Whose house are you building? Yours or God’s?”

Each of us use our gifts to build something every day. Are our efforts focused more on building our own little empire or God’s glorious one? According to 1 Kings 6:38-7:1, Solomon built God’s temple in seven years but spent 13 years constructing his own palace! As someone who’s currently building a house for my family, am I spending even more of my time and my gifts to build God’s house? I would say so, but those who know me best should make that call given that I’m not immune to self-deception.  Read more