“[Tyre’s] gain and her pay will be set apart for the LORD; it will not be treasured nor laid up, for her gain will be for those who dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for fine clothing” (Isaiah 23.18).
Tyre was a materialistic power during Isaiah’s day. Isaiah 23 describes the downfall of this city which represents ancient Phoenicia. The LORD humbled those admired and shamed those who had amassed self-glory and material wealth. All her gain would come to the LORD and His people in the end.
There is great danger in envying those caught up in the sin of materialism. The rampant covetousness which characterizes our own nation is the sin of idolatry. Paul wrote, “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6.8-10).
Money can do very little for us. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s the truth. Beyond food and clothing, what can you really have in this world? Fancier food and nicer clothes? What happens when things get fancier and nicer? You fall into a trap. You become proud and self-sufficient even as Tyre. Also, those who accumulate material wealth accumulate anxieties and trouble. The more you have, the more you worry about losing it.
Truly rich people are possessions of Christ. All belongs to us and we belong to Christ. We are bought and paid for with the blood of Christ. Therefore, we ought not prostitute ourselves even as Tyre did. Since we belong to Jesus, we are His slaves not slaves to wealth.
Money is simply a tool. God gives and God takes away. Naked we came into the world and naked we leave it. The richest people in this world are those who amass eternal wealth. They expend their time, talent, and treasure for that which lasts forever: the eternal souls of people. The only thing you truly take with you when you leave this world are the souls you’ve helped lead to Jesus. The truly rich people of this world are those who win souls for the glory of God.