Don't be deceived by riches!

Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your way of life be without the love of money, and be content with such things as you have, for He has said, "Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!" so that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me."

The city of Laodicea was founded nearly three centuries before the birth of Christ. Built on a trade route, Laodicea was quite prosperous. The wealth of the city was legendary, as Jews who lived there sent 9 kilograms (20 lbs) of gold to the Temple in Jerusalem on a yearly basis according to historical records.

By the time John penned the book of Revelation around 90 AD Laodicea had survived an earthquake 30 years earlier. Though partially destroyed the city refused Rome’s offer to help rebuild, insisting it could take care of itself — Laodicea was self-sufficient. Tacitus, the Roman historian, wrote: "Laodicea arose from the ruins by the strength of her own resources, and with no help from us.” The city was so wealthy it minted its own coins!

Yeshua's parable of the seed sown among thorns speaks of the "deceitfulness of riches" which "chokes the Word making the seed unfruitful". Laodicea's history exemplifies this danger, and John's letter to the church is the Holy Spirit's warning to all who fall into the temptation of prosperity: “Because you say, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

It's not difficult to understand how wealth can deceive us. Luxury, comfort, and prosperity can make life in this world a lot easier, causing us to forget spiritual essentials. The Lord understands this when He says to the Laodiceans, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent." Yeshua wants all of us to store our treasure where it won't rust or corrode, and where thieves can't get at it either. So be careful not to allow your wealth to destroy your spiritual health... or your eternal inheritance!

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