October 5, 2020
The following was written by Shawn Jacques, a private wealth advisor in the Chicago office of Ronald Blue Trust.
What is hope, and what does it mean to put our hope in something? Is hope the same as trust?
When I did a brief study on the concepts of trust and hope, it was hard to untangle the line between them. Trust seems to consist of confidence in something or someone based on previous experience, while hope is rooted in confidence in a future outcome. Normally, people think of hope as an uncertain but preferred outcome, such as when we say, “I hope that happens.” However, John Piper reminds us that biblical hope isn’t uncertain at all. He says, “Biblical hope is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future.” We have a certain hope in Christ, not just a preferred outcome.
So, why does Paul in 1 Timothy 6:17 tell us to “not put our hope in wealth”? Normally, warnings like that are only given if there is a tendency or desire to do that very thing. For example, I have to tell my sons that they can only have a certain amount of video game time. Why would I have to tell them that? Without a warning from me, they will have a strong desire to go far beyond their allotted screen time. In the 1 Timothy passage and others, it’s clear that we humans tend to put our hope in wealth. Proverbs 18:11 says, “a rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.”
So, if we have a tendency to put our hope in wealth, what can we do to safeguard against that desire?
Understand the true source of wealth. While money can give us a sense of confidence in the present, it cannot provide assurance of our future. Proverbs 23:5 says that wealth can “make itself wings and fly toward the heavens like an eagle.” God is the creator and owner of all things, and our ability to gain wealth is solely from Him. We must understand that our role is steward, not owner.
Hold your wealth with an open hand. We need to be generous as God leads us. The parable of the Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 16) is the most challenging in this area, as God asks him to give all of his possessions away. God doesn’t call many to give all their wealth away, but we need to be in a place in our heart where we could if He does. John Wesley said, “When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.”
Be careful where you put your money. Matthew 6:21 points out that, “where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.” Invest in earthly things, and there your heart and hope will be. Invest in eternal things, and your heart and hope will follow. A.W. Tozer said, “Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.”
Be accountable to someone in this area. Proverbs 28:26 says, “he who trusts his own mind is a fool.” We all have blind spots and need close friends and advisors to challenge us. My wife and I personally sit down with our Ronald Blue Trust advisor each year. He has challenged me a few times on where my heart was in certain areas.
Wealth is a gift from God and given only by His grace. We tend to put our hope in it. However, it will always fail us in the end. Our confidence is in God, and there our certain hope can be found in Him and Him alone. Here is my prayer for you and me: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
At Ronald Blue Trust, it’s our privilege to help clients understand how they can use their wealth to be generous. If you would like to connect with an advisor to find out more about generosity, please contact a Ronald Blue Trust advisor by calling 800.987.2987 or emailing [email protected].
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by THE LOCKMAN FOUNDATION.