"I'm afraid of what might happen to the church if abundance comes to the island." That's how one of my Christian friends in Cuba described his country's situation. People in Cuba are going through a time of hardship, with the weight of international disputes falling on the shoulders of ordinary people.

In these difficult times, people are looking for God. They are hungry for hope. Churches are growing at a fantastic rate.

My friend is concerned that some of that could change should conditions improve. He doesn't desire suffering on anyone; he's just aware that abundance brings its own problems.

I know that he's right, for the Bible says many similar things. Jesus talked about how hard it is for the rich to be saved (Matthew 19:23-24), and he warned of gathering riches in this life rather than the coming one (Matthew 6:19-21). In one of his parables, Jesus warned of "the deceitfulness of riches" that could choke out a growing faith (Matthew 13:22). The apostle Paul said that trying to get rich was a good way to ruin your faith (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

That's why we each have to make a decision. What are we going to prioritize? Will we put more emphasis on comfort, pleasure, and financial security? Or will we seek faithfulness to God above all else?

Jesus explained it this way:

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money (Matthew 6:24).

Christians can be rich. Rich people can be Christians. But we need to remember that material things can often get in the way of our faith. We need to keep Paul's words in mind:

We need to remember that material things can often get in the way of our faith
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

Godliness with contentment. That should be our goal.

Want to talk about this some more? Write to me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org. Or join the discussion at www.hopeforlife.org.

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