As I was reading in Psalm 62, verse 10 stood out to me. It says, “if riches increase, set not your heart on them” (ESV). The NLT translates it this way, “if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.”
When I read that I asked myself if my heart had drifted to things so that they have become too important to me? The more I thought about this, the more I realized that the older I get, the more I view creature comforts as necessities. I certainly appreciate all the Lord has given us, but I want to make sure those things have not become an inappropriate focus of my heart.
Jesus discusses this concept in Luke 12:15 when he was talking to a man who had lost perspective about the value of money. He had allowed riches to become the center of his life. To that person, he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (NLT).
It appears that this man had allowed the strong desire to acquire more and more stuff, to become the priority of his life. Jesus shows him why this is wrong when he said, “Life is not measured by how much you own.” To better understand the meaning of that statement, it is helpful to notice that Jesus uses a special word for “life.” It is the Greek word zoe (ζωή). Jesus uses this word in the Gospel of John to describe the eternal relationship with God that is possible for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and God (Jn 17:3; 20:30-31).
So, what is the point Jesus is making to this man? Possessions have no impact on my relationship with God and, therefore, should not be the focus of my heart. Lenski clarifies this well when he says,
“One striking reason for the futility of all covetousness is the simple fact that a man’s ζωή (“life,” relationship with God) . . . is not drawn from his earthly possessions. He will not have a bit more of actual life when he has much or a bit less of that life when he has little.
My relationship with God is not based upon “stuff.” Yet, how easy it is to focus on the temporal because we cannot see the spiritual. Jesus is showing us that we must be careful not to pursue riches since they cannot add value to our relationship with him.
Father, thank you for this reminder that I must guard against allowing my heart to be drawn away toward things that promise a fulfillment they can’t provide. You and you alone need to be the primary focus and allegiance of my heart. Thank you for the abundance of riches you have given me, may they not become too important to me. Help me to keep my heart focused on you and what truly makes my relationship with you flourish.
Following Jesus with you,