There is another side to riches, even the wealth of Heaven. Wealth attracts pirates and thieves. There are people who see the opportunity to better themselves and satisfy their lusts by posing in the Kingdom. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are people whose agenda is devilish.
In Acts 8, there is story about Simon the Sorcerer. He was the ‘Kris Angel – Mindfreak’ of his day. He had a large following of people who were convinced that he had supernatural powers. Simon then heard the gospel and became a baptized follower of Jesus Christ.
One day, he saw Peter and John laying hands on people and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. No doubt, they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Simon approached the apostles and offered them money to give him the power to do what they were doing.
Fortunately, Simon awoke to his envy and repented. But it points out the temptation to want the Kingdom treasures for the wrong reasons. He thought he could work God’s power into his magic act and thereby profit from it. Simon had a hard time selling out his old ways to buy the field with buried treasure.
When Paul wants a contrast to the feminine modesty that he commends, his images of inappropriate external adornment are braided hair, gold, pearls and costly attire (1 Timothy 2:9). Of similar import is the repulsive picture of the luxurious finery of the whore of Babylon, who ‘was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls’ (Revelation 17:4; 18:16). As a symbol of a worldwide mercantile empire, the whore of Babylon is also portrayed as trafficking in pearls (Rev. 18:12)… Overall, the pearl is an ambivalent image in the Bible. Its beauty and value are positive when it is associated with God’s wisdom or heavenly kingdom. But its beauty and value actually become reprehensible when people use it to make an extravagant external impression.[i]
A sign of the end-times prostitution of religion includes the image of ‘trafficking in pearls’. The whore of Babylon runs a business which makes her rich in worldly treasure and greedy to trade on the precious faith of others. Her bottom line is not the Kingdom of God, but acquisition and power. Like a prostitute, she takes her precious purity and trades it for money. She loses the capacity for faithful love and becomes desensitized to the riches of fidelity. She trades inner beauty for flashy, sex appeal.
Let’s be seekers of the inner beauty that comes from God’s heart. Take all that matters to you and let it go for the sake of finding God’s treasure. Put all your eggs in this one basket.