Gold and Silver Are Worthless

by Tim on January 21, 2011

Worthless? Yes, they can be.

It’s interesting to note the trend of gold and silver over the last few years.  These precious metals have soared in price, and I’ve seen many people run towards this investment primarily because of fear.  This article, however, isn’t about my thoughts on using precious metals as an investment – it’s about what the Bible says about the value of gold and silver.

The Biblical book of James ends with a warning to the rich. In verse three of chapter five, James (the brother of Jesus) says, Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire.  This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment.”

Are Gold and Silver Worthless?!

James wasn’t saying that money isn’t important.  He’s talking big picture here.  When Christ returns, what good is our gold and silver going to be?  If we haven’t accepted Him as our savior, we won’t spend eternity in heaven with our creator – all the gold in the world can’t get us there.

Before you write James off as someone who didn’t believe in using money whatsoever, take a look at what he was saying in this concluding chapter.

Spiritual Wealth Is Achieved Through…

Complete Dependence (James 5:1-6)

Wealth is a great tool for building churches, supporting missionaries, and feeding the poor.  It can also create a false sense of security and power and draw us away from complete dependence on God.

James is speaking primarily to those who have misused their wealth and warns them to start investing their resources in the things that really matter – telling others about the Kingdom of God. Fully committing your finances to God isn’t always easy, but it’s a crucial step in completely depending on God.

Patient Investing (James 5:6-12)

Successful  farmers don’t wait patiently in winter and spring just to slack off in the summer.  They work hard in the summer and fall to make the most out of their investment.  Just because we acknowledge our need for complete dependence on God doesn’t mean we can stop working.  The Bible actually tells us the opposite.  As we share Christ with others, we may face persecution, and that is when we need to persist the most.  The greatest investment – sharing the love of God with others — takes patience just like every good investment we’re familiar with here on earth.

Persistent Praying (James 5:12-18)

James 5:16bThe earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Prayer is an important element in drawing nearer to God. We grow in spiritual maturity when we spend time in prayer. It also keeps us on track with our priorities and helps us to maintain the right perspective on our finances.

Ministering to Others (James 5:19-20)

There’s no greater investment than to lead someone else to Christ.  I think James ended his book with this point for a reason.  It won’t matter how much money you’ve amassed over your lifetime, or how much you’ve given away for that matter.  Showing the love of God to others and leading people to Christ is the ultimate investment – not gold or silver.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in today’s hot investments that we fail to see the importance of maturing in these four areas James shares.  I’m guilty of it, but reading these verses helps me to remember what’s really valuable.

Do these verses help you to put your investments in perspective?  How do you balance the pursuit of wealth with the desire to mature spiritually?

Tim is a personal finance writer at Faith and Finance a Christian financial help blog that provides financial insights for individuals, businesses, and churches. Outside of finance, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife, playing the saxophone, reading economics books, and a good game of RISK or Catan. Find him on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to the Faith and Finance RSS feed.


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

sandy @ yesiamcheap January 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

“The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. ” Why did I immediately think of all the people buying homes that they could not afford then losing them later?

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Dave@50plusfinance January 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Two reasons to not buy gold. It’s at the top and fear and greed are motivating you. It’s silly to own commodities unless your an experienced trader. You may make money on metals as long as all the other people keep buying it and driving the price up.
If your worried about an uncertain future stock up on guns, bullets, water and food. You’ll do a lot better than having a pile of yellow metal. It’s better to invest in a relationship with God than to invest in some gold.

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Derrik Hubbard, CFP January 22, 2011 at 12:55 am

Thanks, Tim, for the spiritual tap on the shoulder to remind me to keep all this money stuff in perspective.

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Len Penzo January 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Great article, Tim. I really enjoyed it. Lots of wisdom here.

All the best,

Len
Len Penzo dot Com

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Carol@inthetrenches January 22, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Recently I have been reading Revelation and it references the fall of Babylon throughout and especially in chapter 17. It seems to refer to the world’s monetary system. Revelation 3: 14- 22 warns us that we can be rich in material goods but poor, wretched, and naked in spiritual goods. I often ask myself “Is this how God sees America?” It used to be that we had a Gideons Bible in every hotel room and most people at least knew the 10 commandments. Now the surveys on how much time professing Christians read the Bible daily practically puts us in the catagory of illiterate. Recently I talked to a “Christian” who attends church regularly and who daily relies on her horoscope. When I mentioned that the practice was contrary to the Bible she had never heard it. I guess my thoughts are “We haven’t seen nothin yet” Thanks for the article Tim, it’s a good reminder to lay the foundation properly before building the house.

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Tim @ Faith and Finance January 23, 2011 at 9:23 am

Thanks everyone!

@ Sandy – Interesting thought…I think it all stems from the same root —-greed.

@ Dave – When an investment is driven on fear, that’s when you have to ask “is this really something I should get into?” Thanks for sharing your thoughts

@ Derrik – Not a problem! :)

@ Len – Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

@ Carol – Thanks for sharing, Carol. Hopefully we can be the light that others need to see what the Bible is saying.

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Rick @ Money Market Market Interest January 26, 2011 at 11:54 am

Hi, Tim,

You’re right of course — in the eyes of God and eternity, gold and silver are worthless.

But of course, we can say that about any form of money or investing that’s here on Earth. Yet I don’t believe The Bible says we should ignore storing up material wealth while here, assuming of course we do so honestly.

For instance, both gold and silver are useful for dentistry, jewelry and various industrial applications. I don’t think filling the cavities of children or capping our teeth with crowns is worthless.

That said, I agree these metals are overhyped right now. I don’t believe they’re somehow “real” money where paper money isn’t. Any medium of exchange will work when people trust each other and their government. When that trust is gone, watch out!

If we come to that, food will be far more important.

When people buy gold stored in a distant vault or gold stocks, they’re assuming the system will remain intact enough for them to get the benefit of these items. Yet if there’s a real catastrophe, your certificate of ownership will be just another piece of paper.

So that means people will need gold ingots or coins in their physical possession, but of course that’s a great security risk.

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Invest It Wisely February 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Value lies not in gold, silver, or even paper money themselves, but in an honest and moral society where people’s rights and property are respected and where people can freely trade with others. The value truly lies in the society itself. Should people value money above all else to the point where the society becomes corrupt and immoral, then money can indeed become worthless.

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Alexander May 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

It would appear that there are many “teachers” who chose not to understand what is written in the Holy Bible.
Where does it say that all of the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will spend eternity with him in Heaven?
Does the Bible not state that the Earth will be made perfect and that those who died in Christ will be resurected to everlasting life on Earth?
Others will be resurected to judgement during the thousand reign of Christ, at that time Satan will be bound and cast into an abyss. At the end of the thousand years, Satan will be released once more, and many of those being judged during that thousand years “Judgement Day” , such as those who never had the oportunity of hearing about Jesus, along with the others who rejected him will be given a chance during spans equaling those of trees during the perfect rule of Christ will still follow Satan and be cast with him into the Lake of Fire that was prepared for him. It is written that this will be the “Second Death”, and from that death there will be no return.
Even so, God in his great mercy has said that he would have it that none would perish. The choice to follow Satan will be that of the truly evil ones.
At last, the Lord’s Prayer will come to be … God’s will shall be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Mankind has been left to its own devices since Adam, and look what it has brought us… wars, famines, murder, greed, and unimaginable cruelty.
God’s righteous way will be implanted within us and we shall never deviate through all eternity.

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Heather May 31, 2011 at 10:14 am

I stumbled across this article while searching for information about gold and silver and instead found a naive article that talks about god instead. I’m not going to get anywhere if the economy collapses and I’ve given the church all of my money. People save it instead for food, water etc. and churches spend it on the pastor, and making a bigger church. They waste my hard earned money and god isn’t the one using it. If he were, they’d give it all back when I lose my job and can’t feed my family. Wake up. People don’t save because they don’t trust god; they don’t trust man and they rightfully shouldn’t. I’ll never give a church my money because it isn’t going to god; god has no use for our money. As a believer you should know that better than anyone.

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joeplemon June 1, 2011 at 6:27 am

Heather,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about god and money. You may be surprised to learn that I agree with much of what you say, especially the part about god not needing our money. He doesn’t! After all, He is God..He already owns it all. So, you may ask, why are we asked to give? It is because God knows our selfish hearts and wants to transform us into people with generous hearts. God himself is the best giver ever: He gave his only son for a bunch of people who didn’t care one whit for Him. It doesn’t make sense, I know…but that is what love is.

I will never be the kind of giver that God is, but I know this: the more I give, the more my own heart changes and, bit by bit, I am becoming more like Him. Conversely, the less I give, the more inward and selfish I become.

I am sorry that you have such a negative view of the church, but I don’t doubt that some of it is warranted. After all, the church is full of sinful people (all of us). Fortunately, our standard is not others, but God himself, who is perfect.

Check back in to this site on Friday to read another post which quotes some of your letter.

Thank you again for your comment.

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Alexander August 23, 2011 at 12:28 am

Where does it say we will spend eternity with our Creator in Heaven?
There are those who say the World will be destroyed, however the Almighty God says that the Earth is man’s home and that it will abide forever.
After his resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ showed us what we will become, and that is, neither a spirit or ghost, but perfect flesh and bones never to know sickness and to live on a perfected Earth for all eternity, not an Earth as it is today ruled by Satan. It is written that the last enemy of man, ‘death’ will be destroyed at the end of ‘God’s Judgement Day’, that Day will last for a thousand years.
During that ‘Great Day’, everyone who ever lived will be resurrected, some to everlasting life and others to judgement.
The Almighty God in his great love said that he would have it that none would perish, yet when Satan is released from the Abyss where he will have been bound for that thousand years, many once more will follow him even after experiencing the perfect loving rule of Jesus Christ.
They will follow Satan into the Great Lake of Fire, something that was prepared for him and they shall be destroyed forever; this will be called the Second Death, from that death, there can be no return.

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Olivia Hmelnitsky February 25, 2012 at 5:10 am

It always amazes me that people keep buying into gold, when it’s not any more useful than it was a few years ago. Eventually, it’ll come back down to the usual ~$400/ounce mark, and a lot of people will be very unhappy

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