"Quick Checkup – Where is my treasure?"
Quick Checkup – Where is my treasure?
Over 200 years ago during the heart of the Methodist revival in England, John Wesley recorded his deep reservations about the movement’s ability to sustain itself. Even as thousands and thousands were being saved he wrote about the inevitable decline and dissolution of this revival. What would prompt his prediction in the midst of great momentum and revival outbreak? His journal records his answer:
“I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore, I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger and love of the world in all its branches.”
Jesus warned his own followers: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and riches.”
Jesus leaves little room for interpretative maneuvering or middle ground. There is always a choice, but one master will prevail. For Christians, the stewardship of our lives is a gift and a responsibility from God. The temptation to serve the gift, rather than the Giver is ever-present.
Wesley’s words are haunting: As riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all its branches. Sadly, as Wesley understood, the very blessing of wealth grown and nourished through frugality and diligence could equally become a curse. Our own individual lives are often microcosms of this struggle. We far too often worship wealth rather than the God who gave it.
Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:33-34). The answer is not necessarily in the elimination of wealth, but rather in the recognition that more wealth creates greater opportunities for using it to bless others.
John Wesley understood this. We’ve all heard his famous quote: “If those who gain all they can, and save all they can, will likewise give all they can, then the more they gain, the more they will grow in grace, and the more treasure they will lay up in heaven.”
May it be true of us in our day.