If I said we need to be rich toward God, many would suppose I was trying to prise open wallets and purses. The Lord Jesus tells the story of a wealthy farmer in Luke 12. After one successful harvest came another and then another. The poor chap struggling to deal with his good fortune had to keep building bigger barns. And so his days were spent accumulating wealth. One evening while enjoying his favourite cheese and wine, those annoying chest pains finally caught up with him. The parable concludes with these words “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”.
In what sense was he not rich toward God – probably in many ways, but above all else with his time. It stands to reason that non-Christians are too busy for spiritual exercises; their days are filled with work, home, family, hobbies, etc. Over the years I have met numerous people who skirt around the edges of the Christian faith but in the end they are too busy with other commitments.
It seems to me however that this principle also has something to say to Christians. Increasingly I get the sense that life is too busy for regular personal devotions. In these hectic days getting to church every Sunday is a big enough commitment. It’s true that life is busy, but is this more an issue of laziness and disinterest? We generally find time to do the things we want to do.
If we are rich toward God ultimately it is our lives that are enriched. As we spend time in the means of grace so love is kindled; faith is renewed; hope is strengthened; peace is experienced; wisdom is received. On the other hand those who do not regularly commune with the Lord are spiritually impoverished. Consider the example of Job and his wife. Adversity came upon them and Job endured, his wife exhorted him to “curse God and die”. The difference between them was this – Job had taken the time to cultivate deep roots while his wife had not. There is a reason why some Christians are more fruitful and handle trials better than others.
This parable speaks to all of us. God is rich toward those who are rich toward Him. Its ultimate lesson is this – if we can’t find time for God in this life, He won’t have time for us in the next. Of course we are not saved because we do “devotions” rather regular communion with the Lord is an outworking of the salvation we already have.