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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2004

Wealth and Worry

by  Alden Bass

Adults have a lot of responsibility. Your parents go to work every day in order to make enough money to feed you, your brothers and sisters (if you have any), and themselves. They also must keep their family clothed and sheltered, which is another expense. These days, many families feel it necessary to take out a loan to pay for certain things (like a house). If those payments do not get to the bank on time, there is a possibility that the lender will take back the house. Also, many people feel that they must live up to a certain standard that their neighbors have set. For instance, if the person next door buys a brand new car, sometimes we feel we need to get a new car as well. Or if your friends at school wear a certain style of clothes, you may feel that you must have that style of clothes, too. The solution to these problems, of course, is more money. Of all the things that we have to worry about, it sometimes seems that money tops the list, and is on our minds the most.

This problem is not a recent one, however; people struggled with issues of wealth even in Jesus' day. Fortunately, the Master Teacher offered some good advice on the subject-­ advice that we would do well to observe. Jesus began by showing the difference between earthly wealth and spiritual wealth-revealing that spiritual riches are more important. He then instructed us to "lay up treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:20), because, unlike earthly treasures, they are not subject to corrosion, theft, or destruction. We build up our heavenly riches by living righteously and obeying God. The Lord promised us that as long as our minds are focused on the important things-God and His church-the less important physical needs will be met (6:33).

This does not mean that Christians are to sit around and wait for God to feed and clothe them. Jesus made an example of the lilies, which do not work, yet are clothed more beautifully than great kings. He also spoke of the birds, which do not plant seed or harvest grain, yet are fed plentifully. Jesus was not saying that we are to be like the birds and the flowers by doing nothing to help ourselves. Rather, like them, we should not worry about our bodily needs. Our Father, Who made us, will provide.

This instruction of Jesus is of the greatest value, and is a glittering gem in the New Testament. Worrying is useless, and can shorten our lives and make them much less enjoyable. By placing our faith in the Creator, we displace anxiety, and can focus on the important things in life-like serving God.

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