John the Revelator wrote to the seven churches in Asia what Jesus Christ revealed to him through an angel. In John’s letter to the church in Laodicea, he cautions the church against being lukewarm. The church struggled with materialism which had separated them from God. “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
Material wealth is not a sign of spiritual blessing, neither is poverty a symbol of a close relationship with God. God’s desire is that we prosper and be in good health (3 John 1:2). It is when the accumulation of money and material wealth becomes our primary focus that we become out of balance. Money is not evil but the love of money leads to evil, especially when people will compromise their values to make money. This includes compromising their relationship with God.
John’s counsel is that the church should buy gold which is refined by fire, white garments to clothe themselves to cover the shame of their nakedness and ointment to heal their eyes from blindness (Revelations 3:18). The message from Jesus means that they should seek to have faith tried by fire which is much more precious than gold. That city was known for his manufacturing of white garments and eye ointments to treat eye diseases.
The garments were worth a lot materially but was not enough to cover their sins neither had the physical ointments treated their spiritual blindness. In essence Jesus was asking the question; “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul” (Mark 8:36)?
I believe that God wants his people to prosper and this includes financial prosperity. We have to submit ourselves to God and remember that it is he who gives us the ability to gain wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). As such, we should not compromise our relationship with God to acquire wealth. We allow God to teach us Kingdom principles of wealth creation and allow what we own to bring glory to God.