Capital One Financial® advertises with the tagline “What’s in your wallet?” It’s a great attention grabber for whenever you hear the word “money” or some variant of anything monetary, most people perk up their ears.

Now many people think that if they had a million bucks in the bank, all their problems would be solved, but if you have noticed the sad reality of this, such is usually not the case. While money is necessary, it does not solve life’s problems. When I was growing up, I remember hearing a rap song recorded by some B.I.G. fellow called “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.” He wasn’t a theologian, but that principle is true!

So let’s spend some time discussing what real wealth is and is not.

Despite what some people may tell you, money is not bad, nor is it wrong to have a lot of it. The problem arises when you allow it to possess you and basically run your life. We call that an idol—even though it does not appear as a golden statue or creepy figurine. The Bible never says that money is wrong, but it does warn against the danger of trusting in material goods rather than trusting in the Lord. It also warns about the tendency to become covetous and desire more and more of it, ultimately finding your significance in it. And it most certainly does warn against falling in love with money rather than being content with what you have.

Paul taught these principles to his young student Timothy when he wrote “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10). The love of anything besides God has the capacity to take our eyes off of his guidance and place them on ourselves, which is always a recipe for disaster! What ought to be our attitude in relation to this issue that stares us in the face every day?

Simply put, we can make sure our heart is in the right place. By that, I mean that we need to be very intentional as to whom or what we serve. You can’t serve God and anyone or anything else, and when you decide to put something or someone else in the place that has been reserved for him, it becomes a sin. In his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught his audience (and us as well), “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

That sounds pretty simple, and it is—but it is so hard! Let me explain: we know what to do, but we often fail to do it because our human nature tries to take over and tell us that we can be self-sufficient. But if you look at our lives through the lens of God’s word, we have been redeemed in order to depend on him, not to be independent of him. While our flesh wants to “get all we can and can all we get,” he tells us that he will provide for all of our needs (Philippians 4:19). Guess what else? This is what I have found to be true: not only has he given me all that I need, he has upgraded most of my blessings to super-blessings! He has gone beyond provision to nearly spoiling me with so many good things!

The best way to see that we do not worship the blessings of God, but rather worship the God of the blessings, is to invest in eternity by serving him on earth. Are you pleasing him with your life? Does your wallet reflect your priorities? Are you more concerned with your earthly retirement than you are with pleasing the One who reigns forever? Think about these things and if there is a disconnect, just ask the Lord to help you reprioritize so you can use your blessings to serve him and help others who have greater needs than you do. Does your spiritual bank account abound with praiseworthy service, or does it lack the things that display the glory of God in your life?

What’s in your wallet?