Christians must not put their hope in this world's wealth. Money in this world means power and security. Those who have it often rely upon it. Arrogance or pride is a warning sign that one is taking oneself or one's wealth too seriously. With the way the world looks up to the affluent, it is easy to believe the illusion it projects and trust in one's accomplishments or acquisitions. But there is great danger in this. First, hope in wealth undermines trust in God. There is no clearer statement of this truth than Jesus' words: "You cannot serve both God and Money" (Mt 6:24). Reliance on material goods or worldly status is antithetical to reliance on God.
Second, the wealth of this world is uncertain. Today's gains are tomorrow's losses. Even on the best of days, the value of this world's wealth is extremely limited; it pertains only to this present world (v. 19).
We can avoid this danger only by being properly oriented to God. Paul defines this orientation as hope in God. How can the rich believer hold on to God in this way? It can only be done by recognizing that one's wealth has come from God (2 Cor 8:15). Gifts from God are things to be "enjoyed," for Paul states clearly that God gives richly for this reason. But the gift is not to be confused with the Giver; it is rather to point the recipient back again to hope in God. Hope, which acknowledges the Giver, releases the recipient of the gift to "enjoy" or make use of it in ways that mirror the divine Giver.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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