A week ago, my friend told me about his stock-trading class. The hook seemed too good to be true: 1 hour of work a day with a foolproof strategy, leading to huge returns. So of course, I was incredibly interested.
I spent the next few hours excitedly thinking about what I’d do with that money. I’d quit my job to focus on writing, possibly pick up a sport or instrument, and start looking into houses or nicer things. I was halfway through my shower when the Holy Spirit slipped in:
“You are more generous now than you would be if you were rich.”
It was true – not once in my 3 hours of fantasizing had I considered a single one of the causes or friends we were currently supporting. It barely took a whisper of promised riches for me to forget about everyone but myself.
In the TV show Lost, Hugo “Hurley” Reyes wins the lottery, and his life is immediately beset by disaster. Only recently have I begun to appreciate how spectacularly accurate this is. For most of us, huge amounts of money are the equivalent of a spiritual catastrophe because it unveils our secret desire to place our trust in wealth – and not God.
Don’t get me wrong – God uses money, and Christians need to be awesome at making it and using it. We cannot fear wealth. But we must be incredibly aware of how fickle our hearts’ loyalties are, and not overestimate our strength. We are most often the rule, not the exception.
My desire for wealth comes out of insecurity – and I am not yet free of its allure. So I write this now to remind myself to trust not in empty promises of prosperity, but in the lasting promises of my God.