Oprah Winfrey is one of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world. She has reached billionaire status, has her own TV network, magazine, book club, a school, has her own street in Chicago named “Oprah Winfrey Way” blocks in front of her production studio called Harpo Studios, and a host of many other achievements. According to an article written by Julie Zeveloff on May 25, 2011 on businessinsider.com, Oprah Winfrey reportedly paid $52 million for her Montecito, CA home, that Oprah nicknamed “The Promised Land”, and has several homes in Maui, Kula, Chicago, Antigua, Colorado, Georgia and a $68 million mansion in New Jersey. Ms. Zeveloff also stated that Oprah owns a $42 million jet, left her dogs $30 million in her will.
Yet, with all of her billions and million dollar homes, I’m richer than Oprah. In fact, every believer, a true follower of Jesus Christ, is richer than Oprah. Sadly, many of us Christians do not consider ourselves rich because we fail to understand what true wealth is. We have forgotten who it is that we have, who it is that we serve, and who is in control over all things. So we find ourselves idolizing celebrities, the rich and famous, to the point that our prayers are to be rich like them, popular like them, elevated like them, successful like them. Our hearts long for and are passionate for the things in this world.
Oprah has seemingly everything a person could want in this life; success, money, mansion, celebrity friends, power, etc. But truthfully Oprah has nothing. Oprah is bankrupt. Oprah is empty-handed. For at the end of this life, all that she has will fade away, it will perish and be utterly destroyed. This holds true for everyone in this world, all of our earthly possessions will fade away. (2 Peter 3:7,10; Matthew 24:35) Unfortunately, if all that Oprah owns is in this life, if all her treasures are on this earth, she is indeed poor.
However, for the Christian, all of our treasures are not on this earth. We heed to the teachings of Jesus who says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;” (Matthew 6:19-20 NASB)
All throughout Scripture, believers are instructed not to focus on this temporal world, but focus on the things unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18) and the things above (Colossians 3:2). For our riches are not of this world, but in the world to come. As Christians we are rich beyond measure, richer than Oprah or anyone else who does not live for, serve, follow and have Jesus Christ as their Savior, for it’s because we have accepted the blood of Jesus that was shed for our sins we have access to eternal life and eternal riches. (John 1:12; John 10:28; John 14:6; John 17:3; Ephesians 1:7-8;)
How much richer am I, are we, you ask? I’m going to attempt to scratch the surface of our riches…
#1- Bigger House- The Christian has many dwelling places that are made by God, the Creator of the universe. I’m not quite sure how big or how many homes, but I can say that we are told that Jesus is preparing it for us. (John 14:2-3)
#2- Inheritance- As children of God, we are heirs to the Kingdom of God (Matthew 25:34), spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), and the glory of God. (Romans 8:17)
#3- Power and Prestige- We will rule and reign with God for eternity, have power over nations (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelations 2:25-26; Revelations 5:10, 20:6), judge the world (1 Corinthians 6:2), and sit on thrones. (Matthew 19:28)
#4- Eternal Crowns- The King of Kings will crown His children with an incorruptible crown, a crown of righteousness, the crown of life, crown of glory, and crown of rejoicing. (2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Corinthians 9:25-27; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:2-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:19)
#5- Eternal Rewards- The faithful believer, who endures to the end, will be rewarded for their faithful service, sacrifice and work for God. (Roman 14:12; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Revelations 22:12)
Whenever we are tempted to envy a rich person or celebrity, let’s remember that we have unfathomable riches in Jesus Christ. Our hope must not be placed in the things of this world, for “the world is passing away, and also its lust’ but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17 NASB) Therefore, we can take comfort in knowing that our denial of selfish pleasures, worldly success, material possessions, will one day be personally rewarded by God. May we begin to live this life fully for Jesus, building His Kingdom, spreading His Word, with great anticipation for eternal riches to come. And may we begin to fervently pray for those who has placed all their hope in the things of this world, who live for themselves and the approval of people, and who do not have Jesus as their personal Savior; for their success and “riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death.” (Proverbs 11:4 NASB)
Tragically, the death of a rich person who hasn’t accepted Jesus as Savior, will die and be buried and so will their riches. But for the Christian who has put their hope, faith and trust in Jesus, we die and angels will come for us and usher us in to the presence of our Lord. (Luke 16:22)
Let every professing follower of Jesus Christ, live this life to hear our Savior say, “…Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master”. (Matthew 25:21 NASB)