“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.” Matthew 27:57-60
A rich man was a disciple of Jesus? Jesus said earlier in Matthew 19:24 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Yet here we see Joseph of Arimathea, following Jesus, learning from Jesus, risking for Jesus in a manner he most likely would not’ve had opportunity to do had he not been rich.
Proof things that are impossible with men are possible with God!
On his website “That the World May Know” Ray Van Der Laan shares, “Only the wealthy could afford large tombs cut into the rock. Their families were buried in these tombs for years (sometimes centuries). The tomb that Joseph of Arimathea provided for Jesus was such a tomb (Matt. 27:59-60; Luke 23:53; John 19:41). The stone was so large that the women were afraid they would not be able to open it (Mark 16:1-3). A stone of this size would be found on the tomb of a wealthy man.
Joseph’s tomb was also new (Matt. 27:60). Jewish law apparently declared that new tombs could be sold, but used tombs could not. Once a family had used a tomb, only members of that family could be properly buried in it. Considering the cost of property near Jerusalem and for such a rock-hewn tomb, Joseph’s gift to Jesus was very generous. The willingness with which he offered his tomb for Jesus’ burial shows us the measure of his devotion to him. It also fulfilled the prophecy that Jesus would be buried “with the rich” (Isa. 53:9).” Source: https://www.thattheworldmayknow.com/a-new-tomb
While scripture does contain numerous warnings regarding the dangers of riches (they can be deceitful Mark 4:19, and those who love riches pierce themselves with many sorrows 1 Timothy 6:10) note the problem isn’t the riches themselves but the love of them or if we trust in them rather than God.
Paul instructs Timothy to “instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be conceited and not to put their hope in the uncertainty of wealth but in God who richly provides all things for us to enjoy, instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works and to be generous and ready to share.” 1 Timothy 6:17-18
God is the one who richly provides all things for us to enjoy! The problem is when we seek to trust the gift rather than the giver, looking to riches for security, value, and worth rather than to God.
If you look up the word “rich” in Greek you’ll find it means “abounding in personal resources.” This is true not only for money but also for personal talents!
God has richly provided us with our talents for us to enjoy! The CliftonStrengths assessment affirms this. When we use the talents the Lord gives us, they energize, bring deep satisfaction and joy as long as we use them the way the Lord intends – within His boundaries, for His purposes.
And a big part of His purpose is joy! How much are you enjoying the talents the Lord’s given you?
The moment we start to trust in our talents, we let ourselves be robbed as they take center stage, pulling us away from God. But when Christ remains the center we are able to experience the true value of His gifts as we follow Him, being rich in good works, generous and ready to share. What we do for others, we do for Him.
God isn’t anti-riches! He gives them for us to enjoy! I can only imagine how it blessed Joseph to be able to provide Jesus with a proper burial in a new tomb. This was all part of God’s plan!
But Jesus also said, “Blessed are the poor.” Why? Because the healthy don’t need a doctor! The reality is in this broken, fallen world, none of us are healthy. No matter how much money one has, no matter how talented you may be, all are poor. That’s why we need Jesus!
Take care when you use the talents and resources the Lord has richly given to you, that you are enjoying them, not trusting in them.
While riches may be valuable, they are not what gives you value!