Ever wondered where the term ‘as rich as Croesus’ came from? Croesus was king of Lydia from 560 BC– 546 BC. By capturing the major Greek cities of Western Anatolia, he completed the conquest of Ionia.
History tells us that Croesus, in the end, was defeated. It is not clear if he was taken a prisoner or of his own volition, he moved to Egypt. Croesus real claim to fame was his great wealth. Archaeological finds as Sardis indicate that he minted pure gold coins. He was responsible for creating the first government coinage by certifying the weight of gold coins.
Croesus was responsible for providing several pillars at the Temple of Artimus in Ephesus – one of the seven wonders of the world.
Being wealthy didn’t help Croesus to keep his kingdom, but it did win him a place the history books to become a cliché in our language.
Being rich is the goal of most people, but only a few ever succeed. The writer of Proverbs pens this observation, ‘The rich man’s wealth is his only strength. The poor man’s poverty is his curse.’ From experience and observation, poverty is an attitude. Conversely, I have met people with hardly a bean to bless themselves with rejoicing they are rich. People have looked at me with envy thinking I am well off yet unbeknown to them, my bank balance is nil. The attitude I held gave the impression of prosperity. One is left with the idea that poverty is an attitude rather than circumstances.
Riches can’t buy favour with God. What does win God’s favour? It is not trying to bribe him or making a deal with him, it is not doing heaps of charity work, it’s not reading the Bible or praying, going to church on Christmas and Easter. It’s not being a good person. God’s favour is unearned, undeserved, unmerited. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. And nothing we can do will make him love us less. God has already showered us with his love through Jesus.
Poverty, supposedly, a sign of holiness. God is no respecter of people. There is a popular idea that the wealthy are good people and the poor are the lowest of the low. God does not accept such thinking.
His idea of greatness is based on different criteria. Here is what one Biblical writer had to say, ‘For in Christ there is all of God in a human body; so you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ.’ (Colossians 2: 9, 10. LB )
Favour with God is based on how much we are willing to accept the favour he has poured out unconditionally on us through Jesus.
The writer of Proverbs coins another saying, ‘Trust in your money and down you go! Trust in God and you flourish like a tree!’
A final word from the Book of Proverbs, ‘True humility and respect for the Lord leads a man to riches, honour and long life.’