The Deceitfulness of Riches

by Rick

Today we continue our series entitled, “Expecting the Word to Work!”  This is part 25.

 

We have been studying the parable of the sower for over a month now.  Within this study we have looked at the first two types of soil and we are looking at the third: thorny weeds.  Let’s get back to it this morning. Jesus said:

 

Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds.  They hear the teaching, but their lives become full of other things: the worries of this life, the love of money, and everything else they want.  This keeps the teaching from growing, and it does not produce a crop in their lives.”  (Mark 4:18,19)

 

In the video version of the message yesterday I shared something I did not share in text.  I talked about how traumatic events that involve money can sometimes cause someone to make a decision in their heart to pursue money at all costs.  For me it was when I was robbed as a young child.  At the tender age of 11 I was robbed at gunpoint. A group of teenagers put a .357 magnum to my head for my blue-and-white suede adidas.  This happened on a NYC public bus. It was traumatic. Having to take one more bus and then walk from the bus stop to my apartment building with no shoes was extremely embarrassing for an 11 yr. old kid.  But what hurt me the most was that my mother paid $23 for those sneakers.  She was a single mother and a factory worker.  She could only afford to buy me one pair of sneakers for the school year.  I knew she did not have the $23. That’s what hurt me the most. The gun was not the worst part for me.  The money was.  I was raised on public assistance, my mother always saw to it that we had what we needed, and I needed shoes.  I don’t know how she did it, but somehow she got the money to buy me another pair. This is why I am committed to providing for my mother all the days of her life.  As long as I am alive, my mother will lack for nothing.

 

Now let me get to the point about money.  At 11, when I felt that pain, I made a decision that I would never feel that way again.  I started working was I was 13 and from the age of 13 I bought my own sneakers and clothes.  I did not want my mother to have to worry about me. I have been working hard ever since. For other people it could have been a day when their electricity was cut off, or they got evicted from their home/apartment.  Whatever the case, sometimes bad things happen to people where money is concerned and they make a decision in their hearts, in that moment of pain, that they are going to pursue money.  If not corrected, this decision can ruin their lives.  The pursuit of money is deceitful.

 

I want to share with you one of the responses I received from yesterday’s video.  The person said,

 

Rick, thank you for sharing that last part. It brought tears to my eyes and really touched me. I lost almost all of my savings, investments, my job and even my marriage because of primarily the pursuit of money. I’m changing that around and rethinking everything… I’m pursuing God and his word first and learning to be led by his spirit.  Your ministry is helping in that transformation. Thank you so much for the daily word, and God Bless.”

 

I share this because it lines up with today’s message.  In our passage I have been focusing on the line: “the love of money.”  The King James Version calls it “the deceitfulness of riches”.  That’s what we will deal with today.  Pursuing money over pursuing God proves to be a deceitful pursuit.

 

So what does this mean to you today?  A few things.

 

  1.  The love of money is deceitful.  Pursuing money over pursuing God is not worth it.  The endless pursuit of money often causes people to wind up with money, but only to realize that they have lost everything else along the way.  Many lose their families, their integrity, and even their health in a tireless pursuit of money. Jesus once asked the question, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Mat 16:26).  What good will the money be if you lose everything that matters to get it?

 

  1.  Don’t put your trust in money, put your trust in God.  Solomon, both the wisest and richest man of his day, said, “Those who trust in their riches will fall like dead leaves, but the righteous will prosper like the leaves of summer” (Prov 11:28).  In Mark 4:19 Jesus said, “The people who are like thorny ground receive the Word, but “The cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things, choke the word, making it unfruitful.”  One of the definitions for the word “deceitful” includes the word “untrustworthy.”  That’s really the message behind Solomon’s teaching.  His point is a point about trust. Solomon was a trillionaire and he taught us NOT to trust in riches.  He does not cut any corners either.  Solomon plainly states that those who trust in their riches will fall like dead leaves.  These are leaves that were once green, full, and flourishing, but after a change of season, the leaves dried up, changed colors, and eventually fell.  Solomon then contrasts that image with the image of the righteous, who will prosper like the leaves of summer.

 

  1.  You must make your choice between serving God and serving money.  God is not opposed to you having money.  His problem is with money having you. If you have a proper relationship with money, God can give you loads of it.  But He just does not want you to put your trust in it. If your trust is in your wealth and not in God, then your wealth has become your god.  Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and Money” (Mat 6:24).  You can either put your trust in God, honor Him with your finances, and do whatever He tells you to do with the money He places in your hands; or you can pursue money and make money the focal point of your life.  If you do, you will quickly find out that you don’t like that scenario. Money makes an excellent servant, but a poor master. Let money serve you, don’t serve it! If you serve it, you will wind up deceived, disappointed, and possibly even depressed.

 

Closing Confession:  

Father, this is a season of expectation for me.  My expectation is tied to Your Word. Your Word teaches me to make You my #1 priority.  So I give you FIRST PLACE in every area of my life. This includes my finances! I don’t love money, I love You.  I don’t pursue money, I pursue You. I don’t place my trust in money, I place my trust in You. Living this way I position myself to receive Your best.  You can bless me financially, because I am focused on doing whatever You tell me to do with the money You place in my hands. You are my Lord, so I never have a fear of running out.  I live every day with faith in running over! I declare this by faith! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

 

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

 

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