A beautiful glossy black Mercedes was in the lane next to me on the freeway. As I got closer, I noticed the license plate: “MT 633.” I figured that was probably a Bible verse, but I couldn’t help smiling when I recalled what Matthew 6:33 says: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” Translation: “Put God first, and you can drive a Mercedes too!”
While that rendition may make following Jesus very popular, somehow I don’t think that’s exactly what He meant. Most of the people He was talking to that day on the hillside of Galilee were worried about not having enough to eat.
It’s not wrong to be rich, but it is a lot of responsibility. Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect, who was well-off himself, once observed, “Many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions.” I think that’s what Jesus was trying to spare us from when He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.”
The Bible also says, “Whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” That leads some people to say, “Then, give in order to get rich! The more you give to God, the more He will give back to you.” But that is hardly the right motive for giving? No, God wants us to use wealth to help other people, not ourselves. Just listen to these Bible verses: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion.” “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work…that he may have something to share with those in need.”
Do you see a pattern in those verses? Not “give in order to get,” but “get in order to give.” Pretty clear, isn’t it. It’s something to think about!
- Matthew 6:33
- 2 Corinthians 9