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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