Rich Towards God
(week 44/05)
Olubi Johnson

Luke 12:13-21 NKJV: Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 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. 19 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.” ’20 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?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

In this parable, the Lord Jesus teaches us to be rich toward God.

What then does it mean to be rich toward God?

The degree to which you are rich toward God is the degree to which you have the knowledge, understanding, wisdom and instruction of His Word that has made you more like God in your character.

In other words, the more of the knowledge of God you have that makes you more like Him in character the richer you are toward God or spiritually:

Colossians 1:27-29 NIV: To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 to this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

Colossians 2:1-3 NIV: My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Proverbs 3:13-15 NIV: Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

True riches is having the revelation knowledge of God’s Word that transforms you to be more like Him in character.

It is possible to have mental knowledge of the scriptures that does not produce a change in character; but revelation (knowledge given to you personally by the Holy Spirit which when acted upon produces a transformation in your character making you more like God) makes you rich toward God.

Now why should you be rich toward God?

To live long to fulfill your divine destiny here on earth and in eternity.

Proverbs 9:10-11 NKJV: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you. 

Proverbs 3:13, 18 NKJV: Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.

The rich fool in the parable above was only preparing for this life and not for eternity: like many people on earth today he spent all his time and energy getting physically rich but was spiritually bankrupt and was not aware the day of his physical death was at hand.

If you are not rich enough toward God you will either go to hell:

Luke 16:19-31 NKJV: “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.‘ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ 27 Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 but he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’

Or suffer loss of eternal reward:

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 NIV: For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Most people want to be physically rich first, before then trying to seek God to be spiritually rich; this is foolishness because there is no real security in physical wealth it can vanish overnight:

Proverbs 23:4-5 NIV: Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. 

Psalms 52:7 NIV: “Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth

Psalms 62:10 NIV: Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

In fact, if you make getting rich toward God your priority you are guaranteed to be physically rich:

Proverbs 8:10-12, 18-21 NKJV: I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And find out knowledge and discretion. 18 Riches and honor are with me, Enduring riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my revenue than choice silver. 20 I traverse the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice, 21 that I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.

Now how do you get spiritually rich or rich toward God?

By daily habitually developing the love of God through the written Word and the power of the Holy Spirit:

1 John 2:5 NKJV: But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.

Jude 20-21 NKJV: but you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.