What are the true riches in life that the Bible encourages us to pursue? In a world obsessed with material wealth and possessions, it can be easy to lose sight of what really matters. Yet the Bible clearly teaches that the treasures of this world quickly fade, while the riches of God’s kingdom are eternal.
In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the biblical perspective on true riches by looking at key passages and themes. We will see that true riches are not defined by what we own, but by a right relationship with God. The riches of His grace and salvation are freely offered to all who put their trust in Christ. And when we seek first God’s kingdom, storing up eternal treasures, we find purpose, meaning, and lasting joy.
- True riches are not material possessions, but a relationship with God through Christ
- God freely offers the riches of His grace, mercy, and salvation
- We lay up eternal treasures when we seek first God’s kingdom
- True riches bring deep joy, purpose, and meaning to life
- Material wealth can become a stumbling block to true riches
- Being content and generous should characterize our lives
With this framework in mind, let’s dive into the biblical understanding of true riches and what it means for our lives today.
- True Riches Are Found in a Relationship with God
- God Freely Offers the Riches of His Grace and Salvation
- Seeking God's Kingdom Brings Eternal Rewards
- True Riches Bring Purpose, Meaning, and Lasting Joy
- The Dangers of Pursuing Material Wealth
- Developing God-Honoring Attitudes Toward Money and Possessions
True Riches Are Found in a Relationship with God
One of the key themes of Scripture is that true life and meaning are found in a relationship with God. The riches of His love, mercy, grace, and salvation infinitely outweigh any earthly possessions. But these spiritual riches can only be received when we come to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul declared, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8). Knowing Christ was Paul’s supreme treasure.
Similarly, Jesus taught that having Him was more valuable than anything else: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44). When we discover the riches of Christ, we gladly give up lesser treasures to gain Him.
Having a relationship with God enables us to experience His blessings and partake of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). These spiritual riches include:
- Forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7)
- Eternal life (John 3:16)
- Adoption into God’s family (Ephesians 1:5)
- Power to live righteously (Philippians 4:13)
- Joy in the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
- The mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16)
- Intimate fellowship with God (1 John 1:3)
These blessings cannot be earned by human effort or bought with money. They are graciously imparted to us when we enter into a saving relationship with God through faith in Christ. This is what makes them true riches – they have eternal, spiritual value that far surpasses anything the world has to offer.
God Freely Offers the Riches of His Grace and Salvation
One of the most glorious truths of the Bible is that while we were still sinners, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We have done nothing to merit God’s favor, yet in His great love He offers us free salvation and adoption into His family.
The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes that God’s riches are a free gift:
-“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
-“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).
We can never earn our salvation or God’s blessings through human effort. We simply receive His riches by grace through faith in Christ. Even the ability to have faith is itself a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).
This undeserved gift brings incomparable riches into our lives. It secures our adoption into God’s household, forgiveness of sins, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the certainty of an eternal inheritance (Romans 8:15-17). No earthly wealth could ever provide these spiritual riches that grant us meaning, purpose, and access to the throne room of God.
Seeking God’s Kingdom Brings Eternal Rewards
In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told the crowd:
“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 your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
What are these heavenly treasures? And how do we store them up? Scripture reveals the answers.
First, we stockpile eternal riches by cultivating an intimate relationship with God. As we grow closer to Him through prayer, worship, meditation on Scripture, and obedience, we reap spiritual blessings that last forever.
Second, heavenly treasures consist of everything we do in this life that has eternal significance. As Jesus said, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). When we invest in people’s spiritual condition, the dividends will endure for eternity.
Third, the treasures we lay up in heaven include righteous character qualities. Developing Christlike virtues – such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness – refines our souls to reflect God’s glory (Galatians 5:22-23). This brings eternal reward.
Finally, our heavenly treasures encompass any sacrifices we make to advance God’s kingdom. Jesus promised: “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life” (Luke 18:29-30). When we give up temporal comforts to serve God’s purposes, He assures us of eternal compensation.
In summary, when we prioritize knowing Christ, investing in people, pursuing godly virtue, and sacrificing for the kingdom, we store up true spiritual wealth. This fills our lives with eternal meaning and motivation.
True Riches Bring Purpose, Meaning, and Lasting Joy
Accumulating worldly wealth often leads to disillusionment and dissatisfaction. King Solomon discovered this truth after amassing incredible riches. “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Solomon concluded that life was “utterly meaningless” apart from God (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
In contrast, those who seek after the true riches found in relationship with God gain so much more than material possessions could provide:
Purpose – When we understand we are created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, life has direction and meaning. We are called to bear spiritual fruit with eternal value (John 15:16). This sets the priorities for our lives.
Contentment – “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). As we delight ourselves in the Lord, He grants the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4). We learn to be satisfied in God regardless of circumstances.
Security – Earthly riches can be uncertain, but God promises His children, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Knowing our eternal destiny is secure in Christ brings comfort and confidence.
Joy – True joy is found in close fellowship with God. “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence” (Psalm 16:11). This produces a joy that remains even in the midst of suffering.
If we lack spiritual purpose, contentment, security, and enduring joy, perhaps we have been chasing after fleeting worldly wealth rather than the genuine riches found only in intimacy with God through Christ.
The Dangers of Pursuing Material Wealth
Scripture consistently warns about the dangers of making the accumulation of wealth our primary pursuit in life. We see this vividly in Jesus’ sobering words:
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). Why did Jesus make such a shocking statement? Let’s explore some of the dangers that accompany the pursuit of material riches:
Pride – Wealth often leads to a sense of self-reliance rather than relying on God: “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me” (Deuteronomy 8:17). Pride blinds us to our need for God.
Idolatry – Rather than finding our security in God, riches become the object of our trust and devotion. “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Idolatry grieves God’s heart.
Self-indulgence – Those with great wealth often live in luxury and sensual pleasure. While not inherently wrong, this can lead us away from God’s priorities (James 5:5). Our indulgence can ignore the urgent needs of others.
Unfruitfulness – In Jesus’ parable of the sower, riches were compared to thorns that choked out spiritual fruitfulness (Matthew 13:7,22). Wealth tends to distract people from the things of God.
Fleetingness – Earthly riches do not last. Only investments in God’s eternal kingdom will endure (1 Timothy 6:7). Treasures stored up in heaven are secure forever.
The wise person recognizes both the potential good and the certain dangers of pursuing material wealth. Our attitude toward riches reveals much about the orientation of our hearts toward God.
Developing God-Honoring Attitudes Toward Money and Possessions
Since riches can so quickly become a barrier to true spirituality, what attitudes should Christians adopt regarding money, wealth, and material possessions? Here are some key principles that emerge from Scripture:
Generosity – “Command those who are rich in this present world…to be generous and willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). Wealth provides more opportunity to give and meet needs.
Stewardship – “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others” (1 Peter 4:10). God owns everything; we are managers called to invest His resources wisely.
Contentment – “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5). True life is found in God, not possessions.
Trust in God – “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread” (Proverbs 30:8). Avoid covetousness; trust God to provide our needs.
Higher Purpose – Be “rich in good deeds, and…generous and willing to share” to build up eternal treasure (1 Timothy 6:18-19). Use wealth to advance God’s kingdom.
Balance – God gives us “everything richly to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). We can appreciate material blessings God provides without making them our focus in life.
As we adopt these perspectives, we can properly manage money and possessions without allowing them to hinder our relationship with God. The riches of His grace eclipse anything this world could offer.
In a society where success is often measured by the size of one’s bank account, we need the eternal perspective found in God’s word. True riches consist of having a personal relationship with God through faith in Christ and pursuing treasures with eternal significance.
When we seek first God’s kingdom, He promises to meet our needs and bless us with purpose, meaning, contentment, and security that far surpass earthly wealth. But we must guard our hearts against pride and idolatry. Instead, we live with open hands – pursuing generosity, stewardship, and investing in things of eternal value.
As Paul wisely observed, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Christ sacrificed His infinite heavenly riches so that we might gain spiritual treasures beyond compare. May we keep our eyes fixed on the true riches available to all who follow Him.