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rich toward God?

"And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.'  But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'  So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:19-21 ESV)

In the past I have limited this reference of "treasure" only to monetary matters. As Kuyper notes below, this principle -- being rich or poor toward God -- is more expansive than just applying to money.  Read on...

To understand what constitutes riches in God, imagine for a moment that all your earthly riches had taken wings, and that bereft of all you had, you are forgotten by those who once knew you. In this utter forsakenness of soul ask yourself: What have I left? What do I now possess? This will be our state in the hour of death. We will go into eternity alone. What will we take with us? We must leave money and houses behind. We must part even from our body. There will be nothing to us but the soul, our spiritual self. Shall we be rich then? If so, it can only be in spiritual goods. When we die we are either rich in God or poor in God...

Apart from covetousness it is quite possible to enlarge one’s intellectual equipment, to cultivate the aesthetic nature, and to excel in cleverness and in achievement. All this has worth of its own, and is not acquired apart from God. But it belongs to the life of this world, and loses its significance the moment life on earth fails us. There remains of it only so much as has imparted a higher and nobler bent to our person, and has established and broadened our character and our spiritual powers, and thereby has become our property, which can not be taken from us by either catastrophe or death...

Personality that is well developed, character that is firmly established, inner strength of spirit and of will-power can be of use to us only when we can apply them to good and noble ends. Satan is the most strongly developed personality conceivable. Any one can train himself in sin. Hence the question remains: Have we developed the traits of character, and powers of personality, which are in harmony with the life of eternal blessedness? If not, at death, they will be of no use to us. Hell is full of strongly developed characters and cultivated talents...

These heavenly properties are never acquired save through fellowship with God. From God as the Source, the powers of the Kingdom must operate in us that will entitle us to heavenly citizenship. In Christ we must be reconciled to God. The Father must come and dwell with us. For then the new life will be quickened in us, which draws its nourishment from heaven and imparts higher powers, and fills the soul with all the fullness of God. Thus to be rich in God is to own God himself; to be a temple of the Holy Ghost; to carry Him, the Holy and Glorious One, in the heart wherever we go; and every evening and every morning to be refreshed in the inner man at the fountain of the Water of Life.

-- Abraham Kuyper, Near To God

Photograph of Abraham Kuyper, above: origin unknownScanned from "The American in Holland" by W. E. Griffis (published 1899).


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