Over the past several years, we have seen the stock market exceptionally rise and then fall hard, then rise again. Many observed their retirement funds and monetary portfolio all but dry up. Due to the bad economy, many lost their jobs and are now having to work two and three jobs just to keep the bill collectors at bay. And many have been seemingly left with no hope. Granted, these statements can be stated about “Christians” and “non-Christians” alike. But let’s focus this discussion on those professing to be “Christians”. When we speak of the stock market, 401Ks, portfolios, and the like, we most often attribute these things to temporal “worldly” ventures – and we often attempt to disassociate them from “Christendom”. But we must understand that these things in and of themselves are not to be looked upon as evil – providing that they are not obtained through ill-gotten gain. They are a legitimate part of our society.
God’s Word, though, plainly teaches us in 1 John 2:15,
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”
Here, God’s Word serves as a commandment and a warning. The commandment states, “Love not the world.” In other words, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” [Exodus 20:3]. God alone deserves our love, worship, and adoration – for it is through His Only Begotten Son that we have salvation [eternal life]. But notice the warning, “Love not the things that are in the world.” When we expend our time and energy in amassing wealth [the things of the world] – using our gained wealth to amass more wealth instead of using it in service unto the Lord – it will quickly take hold of our “heart”. In fact, we are warned of the danger of turning our “heart” toward worldly gain in 1 Timothy 6:10,
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
And when one’s heart is conquered through his/her love for the “things of the world”, worldly gain will become his/her god.
Notice the Lord’s further teaching in Matthew 6:19,20,24,
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
And the teaching in 1 Timothy 6:17-19,
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
One might now ask, “If the stock market, 401Ks, portfolios, and the like are a legitimate part of our society, how does a Christian keep his/her [heart] guarded from trusting in temporal worldly things instead of trusting in the Lord?” We can find the answer in Psalms 1:1-3,
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
If we are planted firmly in the Lord and in His Word our “heart” will rest in Him and He will supply our needs; our treasures will be laid up in Heaven – but that will not limit His provisions here on earth, albeit via His blessings through our investments, 401Ks, portfolios, and the like. The question must now be asked, “Where is your treasure?” If you will search your “heart” through the study of God’s Word, you will find your true treasure – and you will also find where your worship is being directed. For, you cannot serve God and worldly gain at that same time.