While giving an explanation of the Parable of the Sower, Jesus spoke of the seeds that fell among the thorns: "Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful" (Matt. 13:22).

Riches can be deceitful, it all depends upon our attitude. "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim. 6:9-10). What are some ways that riches can deceive us?

1. Riches can take the place of God in our heart. In the parable, the seed couldn't grow because the thorns choked it out. The nutrients that the seed needed from the soil were taken away by the thorns. The same is true with the word of God in man's heart. The cares of the world and the concern for wealth can take our time and mental resources away from the Word of God.

2. Riches can make us indifferent to spiritual matters. With an unhealthy emphasis on obtaining or maintaining our wealth, we can become worldly minded. Suddenly things like the church and our spiritual lives no longer matter. These things are set aside while we pursue money. Many professed Christians have obviously made their job their top priority - even over their family, not to mention the Lord and His church.

3. Riches can give us a distorted view of life. One time Jesus told His disciples, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15). Unfortunately, there are many people who have been deceived into believing that they would be happy if they could just have more things. Life is not about accumulating things, it is about seeking first God's kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). We need to be laying up treasures in heaven, not on earth (Matt. 6:19-20).

4. Riches can give us a false sense of security. The Lord went on to give a parable about a rich fool (Luke 12:16-21). In this parable, the farmer mistook his physical life for his soul. He had enough wealth to be secure in this life for many years, but he had not prepared his soul for eternity.

Those who are wealthy sometimes fail to see their reliance upon God. Their riches have deceived them into thinking they don't need anyone - including God. But God is not impressed by our fortunes. No one is going to buy their way into heaven. And no one is guaranteed "many years."

5. Riches can give us a false sense of importance. The world determines a person's importance by how much money they are worth. Because of this treatment, a wealthy person can become puffed up and think they are something when in reality they are not. God shows no partiality, He demands the same thing from everyone of us (Acts 10:34-35).

There is nothing sinful about riches themselves, and there is nothing wrong with having great wealth. The problem has to do with our attitude. And - we don't have to be rich to be deceived by riches.

by Heath Rogers

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