Pastor Ron E. Thompson: Something Better Than Riches

Pastor Ron E. Thompson

Jews and Christians regard Solomon as the wisest man who ever lived. Scripture says his wisdom came directly from God. Because Solomon only asked for wisdom, God was pleased to grant him both wisdom and riches. He was God’s anointed, and was blessed tremendously, but he was not exactly famous for his purity. His many wives and concubines were his downfall because they turned his heart toward idols and away from God. King Solomon’s sins speak loudly to us in today’s materialistic culture. When we worship possessions and fame over God, we are headed for a fall. God’s Word reminds us that there are some things that are better than gold. Here are five:

1. Good Character

Solomon advises us to: “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold” (Prov. 22:1 NLT). A good name is earned not by words, but by actions. Jesus said, “Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matt. 5:16 NLT). Many people think an honorable name is best found on the battlefield, or in government, or in places of worldwide commerce, but the most enduring character is possessed by one who lives for God. Such a person counts all this world has to offer as waste compared to knowing and serving Christ (Phil. 3:8 NLT). Chuck Swindol comments: “Ministry is a character profession. To put it bluntly, you can sleep around and still be a good brain surgeon. You can cheat on your mate and have little trouble continuing to practice law. Apparently, it is no problem to stay in politics and plagiarize. You can be a successful salesperson and cheat on your income tax. But you cannot do those things as a Christian or as a minister and continue enjoying the Lord’s blessing. You must do right in order to have true integrity. If you cannot come to terms with evil or break habits that continue to bring reproach to the name of Christ, please, do the Lord (and us in ministry) a favor and resign.”

2. Good Condition

Acts 3:6 tells the story of Peter and John who were going to the temple to pray. They never thought about the hopeless cripple who lay at the Beautiful Gate of the temple asking alms, but they stopped and ministered to him. Peter said: “I don’t have what you want, but I have what you need.”  Peter had no money, but he had something better than gold or silver. We can have the wealth of salvation even if our pockets are empty. Likewise, we may have wealth yet be a spiritual pauper. This beggar was healed physically and spiritually. How precious is good health. There are Christians who love the Lord, but their health is broken. They pray and do what they can despite their illness and often accomplish more than others who have healthy bodies. Thank God for the health that you have and serve Him faithfully.

3. Good Conscience

John MacArthur writes: “The conscience is the God-created self-judging faculty of man, and a good conscience is that which is perfect, producing pleasure, satisfaction, and a sense of well-being.”  One aspect of it is an awareness of sin and of God’s existence. Another aspect is the moral awareness of what is right and wrong. One humorous definition says, “Conscience is what makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does!”  Your conscience either confirms or accuses you (Rom. 2:14-15 NKJV). No one felt the stabs of conscience more than Judas. He was filled with regret for betraying Jesus, but he never changed his mind about Christ and committed suicide. A good conscience is worth more than thirty pieces of silver or all the gold in the world. Paul speaks of two individuals, Hymenaeus and Alexander, who violated their conscience and shipwrecked their faith (I Tim. 1:19-20 NKJV). Remember, a good conscience sure beats a tormenting one!

4. Good Counsel

The Word of God is our guidebook, our spiritual map. David uses several words to describe the Bible:  Instructions, decrees commandments, and laws. In Psalm 19:7-10 NLT, David describes creation and tells us it is written in the universal language of beauty. But he also says God’s written Word is more to be desired than all the treasures of this world. The Gideon organization does a remarkable job placing Bibles in hotels, motels, to service personnel, and nurses nationwide. In the flyleaf of their Bibles are these words: “Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.”

5. Good Certainty  

Jesus said: “Don’t store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen. Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value and are safe from thieves. If your profits are in heaven, your heart will be there too” (Matt. 6:19-20 NLT). Make your fortune, earn your fame, but store it where it will greet you in eternity. Worldly wealth soon passes away, but those who lay up heavenly treasure by spending and being spent for God will be rich in faith. Your heart will be where your treasures are, either earthly or heavenly. When you have Jesus, He’s all you need!

Lynn Deshazo’s song captures the quality between material and spiritual riches:

Lord, You are more precious than silver;
Lord, You are more costly than gold;
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds;
And nothing I desire compares with You.

Pastor Ron E Thompson

Ron E. Thompson is a retired pastor/evangelist having had a ministry spanning over sixty years. He served as pastor of churches in Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, and South Carolina. As Director of Brethren Evangelistic Ministries, he held numerous evangelistic and revival crusades in twenty-two states. He led a team that conducted evangelism seminars throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Ron is author of two books: Hurricane Evangelism and Sermons in Song. He is also a musician, having studied piano under noted composer-conductor, Hubert Tillery. Music has served him well as an avocation in his life and ministry. He currently is a pianist at the Fountain of Life Bible Church in Johnson City, TN. Ron received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater College and his Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. He did graduate studies at Wheaton College and the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. He attended the North American Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in1994. Ron’s home is in Limestone, Tennessee. He is the father of two daughters: Evangeline Hales, a musician at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA and violinist with the Lynchburg Symphony; Dr. Melody Archer, Retired Administrator and Principal of Tri-Cities Christian Schools, Blountville, TN.

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