The more abundance of truly valuable things a man has–the more he has of true riches.
A child counts himself rich when he has a great many marbles, and toys, and rocks–for these suit his childish age and imagination.
Just so, a worldly man counts himself rich when he has a great store of gold and silver, or lands and houses.
But a child of God counts himself rich when he has . . .
God for his Portion,
Christ his his Redeemer, and
the Spirit for his Guide, Sanctifier, and Comforter.
This is as much above a carnal man’s estate in the world, as a carnal man’s estate is above a child’s toys and trifles–yes, infinitely more!
It is above all things desirable, that we adopt a correct scale to estimate things. When we make our personal audit, we shall fall into grievous error if the principles of our reckoning are not thoroughly accurate. If we reckon buttons as silver, and brass as gold–we shall dream that we are rich, when we are in poverty!
In taking stock of our own condition, let us be sure only to reckon that for riches, which is really riches to us. Wealth to the worldling is not wealth to the Christian. His currency is different, his valuables are of another sort.
Am I today poorer in money than I was ten years ago. And at the same time, am I more humble, more patient, more earnest, more loving? Then set me down as a rich man!
Have my worldly goods largely increased during the last few years? And at the same time, am I also more proud, more carnal-minded, more lukewarm, more petulant? Then I must write myself down as a poorer man, whatever others may think of my estate.
A Christian’s riches are within him! External belongings are by no means a sure gain to a man.
A horse is none the better off for all its gilded trappings. Just so, a man is in truth, none the richer for his sumptuous surroundings.
Paul was richer than King Croesus, when he was able to say, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want!” Philippians 4:11-12
Such contentment surpasses riches! Solomon, after summing up all his possessions and delights, was compelled to add, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”
If a man should labor to be rich after the fashion of the poor African natives, and should accumulate a large store of shells and beads–yet when he came home to England he would be a beggar, even though he had a shipload of such rubbish!
Just so, he who gives his heart and soul to the accumulation of gold coins–is a beggar when he comes into the spiritual realm, where such coins are reckoned as mere forms of earth, non-current in Heaven, and of less value than the least of spiritual blessings!
O, my Lord, let me not merely talk thus, and pretend to despise earthly treasure–when all the while I am hunting after it! Grant me grace to live above these perishable things, never setting my heart upon them; nor caring whether I have them, or have them not. But give me grace to exercise all my energy in pleasing You, and in gaining those things which You hold in esteem. Give me, I beseech You, the riches of Your grace–that I may at last attain to the riches of Your glory!
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden” 1883