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More precious than material wealth

Man should not prioritize material needs over the need to heed the call of the Lord Jesus Christ.

By ARNEL M. ARMENIA

THE MENTALITY that money makes the world go round is wrong and deadly! Precisely, for when one thinks money is all that matters, he would strive so much to gain riches to the extent that he would engage even in illegal, immoral, or inhumane activities. As some put it, there are those who are willing to sell everything, including their souls, just to become rich.

God does not want His children to cultivate such a mindset. The Bible teaches us why.

Uselessness of material riches
It is no less than God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who tells us to temper our labor for our needs or our cares in this life, thus:

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.” (Luke 21:34–35 New King James Version)

Clearly, we should be concerned about that Day—the Day of Judgment—more than our needs in this life. Thus, if one works hard for his or her needs in this life, all the more that he or she should labor to be saved on the Day of Judgment!

Truth is, material riches are useless even in preventing the cessation of breath or death. This is made clear in the parable that Jesus spoke, thus:

“Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, “What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?” So he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry’. But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’.” (Luke 12:16–21 nkjv)

Thus, although it has its uses, material wealth is worthless on the Day of Judgment and even on the day of our death. This we should never forget!

One must not forget that material wealth has its limits. So, what one should work even harder to do is to become worthy of salvation. He should not prioritize material needs over the need to heed the call of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Far more important than material needs
The call of the Lord Jesus Christ is very clear, thus:

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:31–33 New International Version)

Yes, we need food, water, clothing, shelter, and we really have to labor for them. However, Christ commands us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. The kingdom which all of us should find first is the “kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:12–14 nkjv). This is none other than the Church Of Christ, thus:

“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.”
(Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation)

Therefore, to become a member of the Church Of Christ or the
Iglesia Ni Cristo should be man’s first priority. Rightly so because the “redemption of a man’s life is his riches” (Prov. 13:7–8 Jubilee). Without life’s redemption, which is through Christ’s blood alone, man, no matter how rich, has nothing!

The need of all men
Why do all people need the Church Of Christ? For it is the answer to the two gravest problems that have been appointed by God for all men—death and judgment:

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27 nkjv)

As it is true that death comes to men regardless of their station in life, so will all men face God’s judgment. If money cannot buy man’s way out of the grave, so will his riches be useless in sparing him from God’s just punishment, thus:

“Neither their silver nor their gold Shall be able to deliver them In the day of the Lord’s wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured By the fire of His jealousy, For He will make speedy riddance Of all those who dwell in the land.” (Zeph. 1:18 nkjv)

It is exactly for this reason that the Lord Jesus Christ cautions against valuing material things above all things. There is something far more important than all the riches this world can offer: salvation! For us to receive salvation, Christ revealed the way, thus:

“I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe. …” (John 10:9 Revised English Bible)

All men, therefore, need and must come into the fold or flock—the Church Of Christ—through our Lord Jesus Christ. Only by obeying or heeding this call will man, even without any material riches, secure freedom from death and be saved on the day of Judgment.

Be a modern-day Moses
Although Iglesia Ni Cristo members also work to earn a living, they understand that it is far more important for them to be found by God “rich in faith” and so “possess the kingdom which he promised” (James 2:5 Good News Bible).

Like Moses who consciously and willingly gave up his royal status in Egypt for the sake of his election in the nation of Israel, God’s first nation, all members of the Church Of Christ ought to choose their divine calling—with all the sacrifices it entails—over what this world can offer:

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” (Heb. 11:24–26 nkjv)

Truly, being poor in the sight of men is immaterial in one’s bid for salvation. Salvation is not dependent on how much money one has. Having received God’s mercy by being called to the Church Of Christ, we ought to strive to become and remain rich in faith for it is to such people that God promised the most precious of all blessings, thus:

“The Spirit took control of me, and the angel carried me to the top of a very high mountain. He showed me Jerusalem, the Holy City, coming down out of heaven from God. … Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: ‘Now God’s home is with mankind! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared’.” (Rev. 21:10, 1–4 gnb)

This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine.