Your Money Is No Good Here: The Only Way to Prepare for Judgment Day

 Cash can't cushion you from metaphysical disaster.

Glenn Carstens-Peters


NEARLY EVERY FINANCIAL ADVISOR on the planet advocates for having a cash reserve to cover unexpected expenses. Author and former television show host Suze Orman recommends you save eight months of expenses. Famed radio personality Dave Ramsey suggests three to six months is enough.

Sage advice if you ask me.

Costly mishaps have a way of barging into our lives without permission, and for those without a large, unallocated, cash fund, such events can have devastating effects.

Though they might differ on the recommended amount, these experts all use similar monikers to describe the account. They used words like emergency fund, safety net, buffer, and rainy-day fund.

Several years ago Katie and I decided to sell one of our sedans to buy a larger vehicle. With the adoption of our two foster boys, we had gone from zero to three children in the span of about a year, and elbow room was getting tight in the back of that Nissan Sentra.

We found a buyer and arranged to meet him at his bank the next morning.

I followed Katie to my mom's house to drop off the children while we took care of business. After selling the Sentra, we planned on hitting OKC to look for a sweet SUV to haul around our growing family.

She drove the Nissan, and I drove my piece-of-junk Dodge Stratus. Halfway to Mom's, though, I looked at my dash and noticed something wasn't right. My engine thermostat needle indicated the car was overheating.

I drove my Stratus to the road's shoulder and called Katie.

She turned around to pick me up, and we hurried to come up with a new course of action. We'd sell the Sentra as planned, borrow my Mom's car so we'd have a way to get home, and deal with the Stratus afterward.

Upon completing the sale, we were a bit dazed, now having zero working vehicles.

Although stressful because we were suddenly carless and didn't know the extent of the Stratus repairs, our emergency fund prevented a crisis. The whole episode was little more than an inconvenience and left us with a good story. But had we no cash reserves, the incident could have had a devastating financial effect, resulting in a big pile of debt.

And if that story isn't cautionary enough, years later we had another, even worse auto emergency. I'll tell the full story another time, but we had the transmission fail on both of our vehicles within seven days of each other!

The Bible endorses saving. Genesis reckons Joseph wise for saving one-fifth of all of Egypt's produce in preparation for the coming famine.[1]

Proverbs 21:20 tells us, "The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down" (NIV).

And Proverbs 13:22 says, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous."

As wise as saving money is, we must guard our hearts from placing trust in savings. Words like cushion, buffer, and safety net reveal the temptation money carries with it. An emergency fund buys us a certain amount of protection from the accidents and mishaps of life. If follows then that even more money will insulate us from these woes, right?

To a point, yes, but do you see where this slippery slope leads?

If we're not careful, we'll get caught up in a never-ending quest for more. No matter how much we have, we (think we) need more. And while money can cushion us from material calamity, cash is worthless in the metaphysical realm.

I like the parable in Luke 12 that gives much needed perspective in this regard. Jesus told the story of a man who had a plentiful crop to the extent that he couldn't even store all of his produce. So he came up with a solution:

He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. 
Luke 12:17-21

The last sentence here is key, but how is one rich toward God?

I like the way the NLT states verse 21: "A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Or, as Barnes writes in his commentary on the passage, the rich fool "has no inheritance in the kingdom of God - no riches laid up in heaven. His affections are all fixed on this world, and he has none for God."[2]

If wealth accumulation is a means unto itself, then we've missed the point.

Provers 11:4 is just as stark. Solomon wrote, "Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."

Now we're getting to the core of the issue. No matter how much money one has, it will not benefit him or her when judgement comes. God's not impressed by your bank account. He doesn't need money. Your friends, family, and followers might be impressed by your giant house and your diamond jewelry, but none of that will matter much when you face your maker.

Righteousness, Solomon says, is the only way we can be delivered from death.

We're all doomed then, right?

Without God's grace the answer is yes because no one is righteous on his own. But because of Jesus's sacrifice on the cross, we can obtain righteousness. How do we do it? By placing our faith in Jesus. This is the only way to prepare for judgment day.

No amount of cash reserves can deliver us from death. Nothing but faith in Jesus will profit us in the day of wrath.

And if you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in my curated, chronological Old Testament reading plan with notes. I've combed through the first portion of the Bible and selected the most critical chapters for your perusal, wrapped up in a 90-day reading plan.

Whether you've read through the OT before or always get stuck at Leviticus, this guide will help you gain a deeper understanding of God's word as a whole.

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1. See Genesis 41.
2. "Luke 12," Bible Hub, Barnes' Notes on the Bible,
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