We see an "improper" perspective of a church when we read about the church in Laodicea (Rev 3:14-22). When Jesus told John what to write in his letter to them, He said to tell them in verse 17, "Because you say 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked". Talk about a wrong perspective, right? Because of this faulty understanding of what they were really like, Jesus said they were like "lukewarm" water and "I will vomit you out of My mouth"! I expect this would probably be His opinion of many whole denominations of churches in our 21st century culture! We have been so affected by the spread of the so-called "Prosperity Gospel", that some people are not aware of how much like the church in Laodicea we really are.
The common understanding of riches and wealth seems to be that the more "things" you can acquire in a lifetime, the more successful you are in the eyes of the world. And the happier and contented you should be living this sort of self centered life, but according to the testimonies of many people who reach this place of wealth and fame, they are most miserable! Why is this the case? I believe a careful look at the above mentioned scripture will supply the answer. This attitude that being rich and in need of nothing should be our goal, is certainly not the opinion of Jesus for His followers! True wealth is not measured by what you have, but by who you are in Christ! In a recent devotional thought from ODB, I read a little poem that said this very well. "In Christ we're rich beyond belief, with wealth the world cannot see; we have new strength and character, new righteousness and purity". The article that was written by Joe Stowell finished with the following one liner "The poorest person is he whose only wealth is money"! In (1 Peter 1:4) we read "And we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay". (NLT). It would seem to me that this "priceless inheritance" that Peter refers to here has to be our place in the Eternal Kingdom of God. We are "adopted" into God's family as a result of our "new birth", but we are "transferred" into the Kingdom, (Col 1:13). And according to (1 Cor 6:9-11) our behavior as a believer can prevent us from receiving this inheritance! Salvation is a gift, but not our place in the Kingdom of God, that depends on our obedience to His commandments!!