“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.” — Proverbs 11:28
Very few well-taught believers would admit that we trust in our possessions, even in the prosperous West. We have money, but we don’t love money. We use our possessions, but we don’t worship our possessions. We manage our finances, but we’re not mastered by them.
But trust is a very subtle concept. How would I actually know if I did trust in my possessions; if my contentment and stability really were tied to my financial status; if I really had become driven by material prosperity, or at least material security?
This leads me to ask myself, “What are some identifiable (even if subtle) expressions of trusting in wealth and possessions?” As we continue to search for a job in Louisville, examine job offers and salary packages, survey homes and apartments online, re-evaluate and re-calibrate our budget, ask ourselves what expenses we can cut, and track the ongoing economic recession, I remind myself of the following fourteen potential expressions of trusting in wealth and possessions.
- A prolonged, concentrated concern over wealth and possessions.
- A consistent hesitation to give sacrificially.
- A disproportionate sense of security focused on your savings, investments, retirement, or possessions.
- An intense focus on the economy (unrelated to job responsibilities) fueled by appetite or apprehension.
- A hovering sense of fear regarding your economic future.
- An unhealthy desire to seek relationships with wealthy and influential people.
- A persistent reluctance to pursue sincere, meaningful relationships with needy people.
- A deep-rooted, unsettling, persistent frustration and alarm when you lose money or possessions.
- A continual desire to predict your financial future or the future of the economy.
- A clear tie-in between your circumstances and your contentment.
- A prolonged willingness to consider corner-cutting and subtly dishonest shortcuts.
- A sideways-glancing mindset that measures others’ stability and worth based on possessions.
- An excessive sense of security (beyond appropriate gratitude and normal human excitement) when you prosper materially (e.g., receiving a surprise monetary gift; getting a pay raise; seeing your stocks rise).
- A subtle lack of gratitude and only a meager acknowledgement toward God for earthly blessings.
“Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!” — Isaiah 31:1