All the Money in the World
The prophecies against the nations in Isaiah 13-23 were given to teach God's people lessons about faith. They raise an important question: Why would anyone want to trust in the nations - even the superpowers - of this world rather than in the Lord, who is in control of those very nations and their rulers? The last of these prophecies is addressed to Tyre, which is described as 'the marketplace of the nations' because of its lucrative shipping trade (see Isa 23:3). Yet Tyre's wealth would prove a poor defense against God's wrath (cf. Pr 11:4); in the end, in fact, 'her profits will go to those who live before the Lord, for abundant food and fine clothes' (Isa 23:18). We are just as shortsighted when we place our trust in our retirement savings or our financial advisers. All the money in the stock markets and banks will one day become, like the wealth of Tyre, 'set apart for the Lord' (Isa 23:18).
Author Randy Alcorn touches on the frequently converging issues of money and trust.
Sometimes more is to be learned from the passages of Scripture we avoid or skim over than those we underline or post on our refrigerator. The Bible contains an arsenal of such verses on the subject of money and possessions, and they just keep firing away at us.
The more we allow ourselves to grapple with these unsettling passages, the more we are pierced. Our only options, it seems, are to let Christ wound us until he accomplishes what he wishes, or to avoid his words and his gaze and his presence altogether by staying away from his Word. The latter option is easier in the short run. But no true disciple can really be content with it.
By now some readers are long gone and others who remain are uncomfortable. I must admit that I share your discomfort. You may even be thinking, 'I'd rather not deal with these issues. I'm content doing what I'm doing.' But are you really content? Are any of us who know Christ, who have his Spirit within, really content when we haven't fully considered his words? When we haven't completely opened ourselves to what he has for us? Comfortable, perhaps. Complacent, certainly. But not content.
I, for one, hate to live with that nagging feeling deep inside that when Jesus called people to follow him he had more in mind than I'm experiencing. I don't want to miss out on what he has for me. If he has really touched your life, I don't think you do either.
For all these sobering implications, I must quickly add that for me the process of discovering God's will about money and possessions, rather than being burdensome, has been tremendously liberating. My own growth and enlightenment in financial stewardship has closely paralleled my overall spiritual growth. In fact, it has propelled it. I have learned more about faith, trust, grace, commitment, and God's provision in this arena than in any other.