New Hope Notes

Rich Toward God
Defining Moments

Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
June 15, 2008 - W0824

Today we’re going to be talk about how to be rich in God but in order to talk about that, we must first define what that means.  What does it mean to be rich in or toward God?  If we don’t define that correctly, we may miss the message.


I know a woman who seems very rich.  She lives in a nice house and drives a $264K Ferrari.  She dresses well and her behavior is very prim and proper.  Unfortunately, her attitude towards others is not very nice; she is condescending and appears not to care about those around her.  On the other hand, I was in the Philippines a while ago and I came across a bunch of kids playing in a back yard.  The neighborhood and homes weren’t very nice but the kids were playing soccer in the back yard with a deflated volleyball that had a hole in it.  But they were running around laughing.  Someone came up to me and said, “Look at those poor kids….” and I thought, “Poor?  Who said they were poor?”


It’s interesting how we (or the world) defines riches and how different that can be from God’s definition.  We need to be sure to define things correctly in order so we don’t end up chasing after the wrong things. In Luke 12, Jesus tells a parable of a man who spent his life amassing money and in the end, he died poor.

“… The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.”  Then he said, “This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.”  And I'll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”  This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.’

We need to position our lives to define what it means to be rich toward God.   We need to have a life that is balanced.  But how do you balance your life?  And what will the results be?


How do you spend your time so you receive God's best?  For me, I don't see my time as hours but as pockets of energy.  Your greatest asset is not time but energy.  How to spend your time will determine the richness of your life.





You know that if you don’t have energy, it doesn’t matter how much time you have, it won’t be worth anything.  Energy is your greatest asset so you need to be sure to…



"So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12).  What should you invest it in?  In order to know what to invest in, you need to:




So how do you determine eternal versus temporal?  Things that are eternal are things that will be there in heaven when we get there versus temporal things are temporary and will fade away with this world. I have a friend who thinks heaven will be like one big pizza that you can eat and each and eat.  Then I have another surfer friend who says that heaven will be like riding on a giant wave that goes on forever and ever.  I don't know which, if either, of them is correct but what I do know is that Jesus and other people will be in heaven.  So, if we know that Jesus and people will be in heaven, if I want to invest in things eternal, I know that I should be investing in them!


So this is the way I do it.  Over the years I have come to realize that I have about six pockets of energy a day – some people may have more or less pockets of energy but that’s what I have – so I commit to using my pockets of energy as follows:


  1. God
  2. Work
  3. Work
  4. Work
  5. Spouse/Family
  6. Self


I invest my first pocket of energy in God.  I get up everyday and spend time with Him each morning in devotions and prayer.  I don’t allow myself to be distracted at that time or get diverted to other things.  I prioritize my time with Him and am sure to invest in that relationship.  Then I always reserve a pocket of time for my spouse and/or family.  Even though that time may come at the end the day, I make sure a reserve enough energy to invest in them.  So if it gets really busy at work and it requires me to put in extra time, or if there’s an evening function that will keep me away from home late at night, sometimes I just have to take let them know that I can’t stay or I need to leave early because I need to save some of my energy for my wife/family.


We also need to reserve some time/energy for ourselves.  If we’re burnt out and don’t have enough energy for ourselves, how are we going to be of any use to others?  Then when I’ve carved out time with God and reserved time for my spouse/family and myself, I have about three pockets worth of energy that I can spend on work and other things.


When things get busy, the first pocket that I seem to pull from (or violate) is Self.  I don’t take care of myself and exercise as I should.  I don’t take those walks or spend time in solitude anymore.  But then I start to deplete myself and my soul starts to shrink.  If I deplete myself, I have nothing to give.  If I short-change my spouse and family, my relationships get shallow.


We have a tendency to trade or convert pockets 1, 5, and 6 to work and we become very one-dimensional and unbalanced.  Your heart starts to stray because you’re not investing in these.  You may gain more financially but…





You’re designed to be in relationship.


“…They did not wait for His counsel…and tested God in the desert…He gave them their request but sent leanness into their soul.” (Ps. 106:13-15)


There’s a sense of emptiness there.   Most of us think, “There’s no harm in asking” but there is because sometimes you might get what you asked for!


“Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field, until there is not more room, so that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!”  (Is. 5:8)


Living alone.  Aloneness.  Loneliness.   God, family, and self…these things are eternal.  Somethings may bounce back if you neglect them for a while but other things don’t.


Today we have a professional juggler, Greg, here with us to illustrate this point.  When you juggle things, you want to know what bounces and what doesn’t.  Because if you’re juggling things and you don’t know what will bounce or not, you may drop something and it may break – you may not be able to recover and have that again. 


When you’re out of balance, how do you get it back?  How do you ensure you won’t break one of those fragile items like 1 (relationship with God), 5 (spouse/family), or 6 (self)?  Don’t juggle them!   Juggling those things and putting them at risk may result in you dropping and losing them.  The result would be emptiness.  On the other hand…





“…the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” (Ps. 37:11)


It may not be just accumulating more wealth; it may be something else.


“Let them say continually, ‘The Lord be magnified who delights in the prosperity of His servant.’” (Ps. 35:27)


God delights in you being prosperous.


“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jer. 29:11)


The Hebrew word for all three of these instances is exactly the same:  shalom.  And what does shalom mean?  Basically peace…but also includes a bit more.  What it actually means is this…





In Hebrew, shalom is not just peace – the absence of war – it is also a wish for the following:


·    True Friends – friends that you don’t have to compete with and with whom you don’t have to pretend

·    Security – knowing who you are, good self-esteem

·    Completeness – a sense of wholeness, not craving the attention of others

·    Quiet Strength

·    Close Friendship – not just having friends and a family but having close friends and a close family

·    Freedom from Fear


We all hope to have rich and prosperous lives but we must properly define what that means in order to have a hope of achieving it.  Richness is not based on the temporal things of this world (e.g., money, material things) but rather the eternal.   Your greatest asset is not necessarily time, but your energy.  Invest it wisely in things that are eternal (e.g., Jesus, people) and you will be rich toward God.  Success without healthy relationships only brings emptiness while a balanced life results in prosperity.   God’s richest gift is “shalom” or peace – not the narrow definition of peace meaning absence of war but the comprehensive sense of peace including true friends, security, completeness, quiet strength, close friendships, and freedom from fear.



Discussion Suggestions


1.      How do you assess someone’s richness of life?

2.      What defines the richness of your life?

3.      Where are you spending your energy? What temporal and eternal things occupy your time?

4.      Do you agree that “Success without healthy relationships only brings emptiness”?  Why or why not?

5.      Do you agree that “A balanced life results in prosperity”?  Why or why not?

6.      How has God granted you His richest gift of shalom?  Share examples.