The world defines wealth by material possessions – money, land, businesses, precious metals, etc. Those who own the most things are named the wealthiest people on earth. Of course, we know that material wealth will never measure up to the storehouse of spiritual riches in Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). The “unsearchable riches of Christ” are inseparably linked to God’s “goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering” (Eph. 3:8; Rom. 2:4). God is rich in mercy and grace, without which we would not be saved (Eph. 2:4-7). In today’s verse, God’s goodness is His kindness that appeared to show us mercy in Christ (Tit. 3:4-5). God’s forbearance is the restraint He used to hold back His severity while extending His compassion to sinners (Rom. 3:25; cf. Psa. 78:37-39). God’s longsuffering does not hastily retaliate when we sin against Him (Acts 17:30). These riches of God do not minimize, discount, or overlook sin (cf. Rom. 2:5-6). They are the resources from which God draws to offer salvation to every sinner in His Son. Instead of despising (“to think against,” disregard) the spiritual riches extended to us by God in His Son Jesus Christ, let us repent toward God and obey the truth (Rom. 2:1-4). Judgment is coming when God will judge sinners (Rom. 2:3, 5).
19 Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! 20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. (Psalm 31:19–20, NKJV)
During His sermon on the mountain, Jesus taught us to lay up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:19-21). It is noteworthy that in today’s passage, the Lord God lays up the treasures of His goodness for those who fear Him and trust Him. God protects us from spiritual and eternal harm, from the “plots of men” who may even kill the body, but who cannot harm our soul (Matt. 10:28). Those who fear God and trust Him live faithful lives before friend and foe. The Lord shelters these from the strife that others speak – words designed to frighten, discourage and defeat us. We will trust in the Lord’s goodness, for it is great. He is our haven of safety against every evil.
4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! 5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:4–5, NKJV)
Wealth is not the panacea many believe it to be. Riches are perishable; they come and go. For example, billionaire Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times since 1991. Solomon (himself vastly wealthy) advises not to work yourself to death trying to be rich because earthly wealth is temporary. The wise person understands money can be used for good or evil, just as one’s attitude toward it can either be thankful and generous, or covetous and miserly. Content with food and clothing, and thankful for much more than that, lay up treasures in heaven. The imperishable riches of eternal life are laid up there for the faithful (1 Pet. 1:4-5).