Healthy state of mind is much more valuable

Adam Harbinson

Adam Harbinson

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What is treasure? I mean real, true treasure. Do we know? Is it a subjective term in the sense that one person’s treasure is another’s scourge?

Probably, but that would mean that you cannot generalise treasure, so can you? Yes I think you can, and while it might have something to do with possessions, bank balance, comfort etc., surely it is much wider than that.

For example, King Solomon penned the following words around three thousand years ago: ‘There is treasure in the house of the righteous, but the earnings of the wicked bring trouble.’

I worked for a number of years in financial services and have often said that of all the many hundreds of people whom I advised, I never met one with just the right amount of money. They either had too much and feared the day when they might lose it and have to step down to living just like ‘ordinary people,’ or they didn’t have enough and were driven by the need to work harder and earn more.

But both groups missed the point. There is indeed something in ‘the house of the righteous’ that King Solomon described as ‘treasure’, but if he was right - and I have more than a suspicion that he was - then it cannot be mere money, for there is ‘revenue’ in the house of the wicked that invites trouble.

No, wealth is a state of mind, a condition that is summed up in the Hebrew word, ‘Shalom’ that can be used to describe a person whose life is characterised by a sense of peace, wholeness and well-being. Now, the suggestion is that the less well off can luxuriate in peacefulness, wholeness and well-being a little easier than can the wealthy; remember what Jesus said? ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’

The picture here is not a literal one, no, the ‘eye of the needle’ was a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if the animal was stooped down and had its baggage removed. The inference being that an unhealthy attachment to wealth are incompatible with the values of God’s kingdom.

However, the writings of King Solomon are not the sole source of wisdom in the Bible, in the Sermon on the Mount for example, described as the distilled wisdom of the ages, Jesus had a lot to say, not just about money but also about our attitude to it.

Let’s dwell on these words, allow them to penetrate our thinking; Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow.

They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?