Setting priorities between eternal and temporary remains a struggle for people of every social and economic strata. Written within the suffering of Job, we find his perspective on wisdom and wealth. Job successfully established his priorities with both God and finances. These are words spoken by someone whose wealth, even in today’s terms, would dwarf most other enterprises.
“People assault the flinty rock with their hands
and lay bare the roots of the mountains.
They tunnel through the rock;
their eyes see all its treasures.”
Job talks about the enormous effort people have exerted to uncover precious metals, like gold and silver, and rare jewels. Deep into the earth they’ve chisel to expose valuable treasures.
How does the level of exertion while striving for wealth compare with the pursuit of wisdom? Which venture consumes more of our time and energy? More importantly, what do I worry about the most: spiritual hunger for God or the desire for greater financial security.
Recently, God tested where my heart was on the issue. I knew it was God because of the bizarre circumstances: an injury causing unemployment for my spouse with no compensation, unemployment insurance, or disability coverage; an empty rental unit and a mortgage to pay; and my employment closing. For three months, bills came without income to match.
We never lacked. God isn’t a God of lack. Although, we considered carefully every penny spent. God has seen us through many tough seasons, including financially. We have learned,
“The LORD Will Provide.”
At such times, will I base my decisions not on my financial position, but on faith, giving God my “Yes!” to whatever He asks?
Wisdom maintains faith to put God first. Often a financial crunch shows clearly how we choose to set priorities between God and money.
Job’s observation confirmed most people know more about gaining and maintaining wealth than they do concerning finding wisdom. A quick scan of the bookstore or “Google” reveals almost unlimited advice on creating wealth. His question still applies generations later.
“But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell?
No mortal comprehends its worth…”
Perhaps humanity’s search for wisdom pales in comparison to the feverish pursuit of wealth, because we don’t comprehend the value of wisdom. If we did, setting priorities between God and money wouldn’t be such a challenge.
Job is the oldest writing in the Bible. The teachings of Jesus form some of the newest.
Heaven and Earth
Jesus reminded His listeners that everything we accumulate here will be left behind, so the wise invest in eternity.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moths and vermin destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moths and vermin do not destroy,
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is
there heart will be also.”
Our hearts are intrinsically connected to our investment, whether here “on earth” or there “in heaven.” These storehouses don’t just vie for our hours, energy and focus, they fight for our devotion.
“No one can serve two master.
Either you will hate the one and love the other,
or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve both God and money.”
What is my choice? God or money? Which captures my heart and devotion? Do I view life decisions from the perspective of heaven or earth?
Do I set my strength to break through whatever obstacle presents itself, the flinty rocks of apathy, lethargy, or complacency to seek wisdom and understanding?
God The Source
God is the source of all things. As Creator and Sustainer of all that exists, everything belongs to Him.
For from Him and through Him
and for Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”
Any level of financial success achieved comes from God because “it is he who gives you the ability to create wealth.” (Deut 8:18) Haggai reminds us.
“The silver is mine and the gold is mine,
declares the LORD Almighty.”
Whatever wealth we think we possess remains borrowed goods. It is far too easy to believe our accumulations came from strategic thinking, smart investing, or a solid work ethic. Not that these are wrong, but perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate true motivation!
Wisdom endures. Wealth is temporary. Solomon, the wealthiest man of his day and the wisest man of all time, speaks of wisdom as being a gift —
“For the LORD gives wisdom,
from His mouth come
knowledge and understanding.”
Job confirms that “God understands the way to (wisdom).” (28:23) His circumstances convinced him that wisdom remains the rarest and most precious of any commodity. Job previously knew wealth plus wisdom; God was showing him wisdom, plus wealth. There’s a difference!
How do I know?
“The fear of the Lord —
that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.”
Job, stripped bare of all security, comfort and wealth, felt God as distant. It’s the dark seasons, the tough road, the desperate places where God proves Himself near and enough. Setting priorities upon God proves the essence of our faith — the foundation of our trust.
When all else fades, the surpassing value of hidden treasures of wisdom and understanding outweigh all else. God is faithful! He can be trusted! Let’s learn from Job setting priorities sooner rather than later.
It starts with me. Here. Today.