The Greater Riches

By J. L. Leifeste

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb. 11:24-26).

            Moses, an Israelite, spent most of his first forty years in the luxury of the palaces of ancient Egypt. Raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, the physical ease and pleasures of that mighty empire lay open to him. He excelled in many good ways (Ex. 2:10; Acts 7:20-23). Yet, He evidently compared the spiritual against the physical. In doing so, Moses chose to be with God’s people rather than live a physically pleasing life in the court of Egypt, even when his choice meant suffering afflictions. Physical life is temporary. To Moses, facing the worst of situations for the sake of Christ in this life would be better than living with the best of whatever Egypt could offer him. By faith, he looked to the future reward of faithfulness in following God’s will (Acts 3:22-23). When facing a choice between Egyptian riches or afflictions with the people of God, Moses made the right choice.

            Today, following God’s will means following Christ (Acts 26:22-23; Rom. 10:4). True faithfulness shows proper knowledge, fruitfulness, and steadfastness.

Proper Knowledge

            We must know what God requires of us in order to be faithful. The only way to have this knowledge is to study the word of God carefully and correctly (Jn. 5:39, 45-47; 8:31-32; Acts 17:11; Rom. 15:4; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 1:5). The Bible is full of examples from which we can learn (1 Cor. 10:1-12).

            We see examples of faith that we should imitate in some ways. Consider the active and precise faithfulness of Noah, even when surrounded by a world of disbelief (Gen. 6:14-22; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20). Think of the righteousness of Job in never forsaking God due to his miseries (Job 1; Jas. 5:10-11). Abraham’s faith was strong and grew stronger. Therefore, he acted upon God’s commandments (Gen. 12:1-6; 15:1-6; 17:17-23; 22:1-12; Heb. 11:8-19; Jas. 2:20-23). Notice Joseph’s faith by his service, by his overcoming temptations, by his brotherly love, which includes forgiveness, and by his belief in God’s word (Gen. 39; 41; 45:1-16; Ex. 13:19; Heb. 11:22). Moses learned to trust God and urged others to do so (Ex. 3:1-4:20; 40:16; Leviticus through Deuteronomy; Heb. 3:5; 11:24-28). We read of the faithfulness found in the trials and courage of Daniel (Dan. 6).

            We see a wonderful example in Saul (Paul) after he became a Christian. His faith grew stronger as he experienced adversities (Acts 14:19-22; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2 Cor. 11:23-28; 12:10). Read of the resolute faithfulness of apostles and Christians as they continued to preach the gospel in the face of trials (Acts 5:40-42; 7:54-60; 8:1-4).

            We also find some examples that we should not copy. A great number of people refused God’s commandments and ignored His word. Many Israelites turned back to evil ways at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 32:19-28). Sennacherib allowed his army to ridicule God (2 Chron. 32:19-22). Haman plotted genocide against God’s people, which did not fit God’s plan and promises (Esth. 7; Lk. 1:68-79; Eph. 3:8-12). Jeroboam, Omri, Ahab, and Jezebel rejected God’s ways and promoted evil actions (1 Kg. 16:25-30; 18:4).

            Many of the Pharisees and Sadducees mistakenly thought they knew God’s will and thought they followed it better than others, even better than the Son of God (Matt. 9:11-13; 12:24-30; 22:15-46; 23:13-36). Judas Iscariot, after following the Son of God for about three years, betrayed Him (Matt. 26:14-16, 47-50; Lk. 22:48; Matt. 27:3-8). Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11). Saul, before becoming a Christian, persecuted Christians (Acts 8:1-3). Simon greedily tried to buy a certain power of the Holy Spirit with money (Acts 8:9-24). There were some false teachers in the church who would lead members astray, and some members who would return to ungodliness (1 Cor. 5:1-2; 2 Cor. 11:13; Gal. 1:6-9; 2:4; 2 Pet. 2:1-2). We should avoid the actions and attitudes of these examples.

            Plainly, the best example for us to follow is the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life. And He expects His disciples to follow His example as closely as possible (Lk. 4:1-13; Jn. 13:15; Rom. 15:5-7; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Phil. 2:5-11; Col. 3:12-17; Heb. 3:1-3; 4:15; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:21-25).


            Christ commands His disciples to be fruitful in His kingdom. Part of this includes minding spiritual things and pressing forward toward the prize that will come to the fruitful workers in His kingdom. We must bear spiritual fruit by appropriate activities in the church that, in one way or another, teach Christ’s gospel to others. If we do not, we will receive destruction like spiritual chaff (Matt. 3:10-12). Either we grow as spiritual wheat, good and faithful, or we grow as spiritual tares, similar to useless weeds (Matt. 13:28-30, 36-43). We should love Christ and abide in Him. We should continuously follow Him, obeying His teachings and bearing fruit, so that we do not fall away to be lost (Jn. 14:23-24; 15:4-6; 1 Cor. 9:27; Heb. 3:12-14; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; 3:17-18).

            We must not look back, desiring worldly ways, and not worry about past possibilities (Lk. 9:57-62; Phil. 3:12-14). The past is gone. Our future relies upon today, and the days ahead, during which we must be ready (Matt. 25:1-13; Rom. 13:11-12; 14:12; 2 Cor. 5:1-10). We must set ourselves to Christian tasks.

            Producing spiritual fruit for the Lord also includes knowing that God watches us and helps us. Christ and the Holy Spirit know and help us. When we continue in faithfulness to God, nothing can separate us from God’s love for us, which is in Christ Jesus (Matt. 10:29-33; Rom. 8:26-28, 35-39; Heb. 2:17-18; 1 Pet. 5:6-7). God helps those who love and follow Him.


            Much of Christ’s teaching tells His disciples that following Him takes determination, courage, and stamina. He exemplified the superiority of the spiritual over the physical (Lk. 4:1-13; Heb. 2:18; 4:14-15). He taught that His disciples would face persecutions, but receive great reward in heaven (Matt. 5:11-12). Persecutions of various kinds have come upon Christians from the beginning of the church. And they will continue until Christ returns (Acts 9:29; 13:50; 14:5-7, 19-20; 16:22-24; Phil. 1:29; 2 Tim. 3:12). Christians must consider all things dispensable for Christ and His gospel (Lk. 14:25-35; Mk. 10:17-31; Rom. 8:1-6; Phil. 3:8-12; 1 Pet. 2:19-20; 3:14-17; 4:15-16). However, focusing upon spiritual things should not cause us to mistreat people. Our actions must coincide with true Christian teachings of good morality, brotherly love, and good will to all people (Rom. 12:16-21; Col. 3:18-25; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

            Christ and His gospel are worth anything we may face. When we endure as steadfast Christians, eternal life in heaven is promised to us (Matt. 10:21-22; 25:21; Rom. 8:16-18; 2 Cor. 1:7; 2 Tim. 2:11-12; Heb. 3:14; 12:1-11, 22-29; 1 Pet. 5:8-11; Rev. 21:1-8; 22:14).

            This world will end and judgment will arrive for all people (Heb. 9:27; Jn. 5:28-29). We must be ready for it (Mk. 13:32-33). We want to be on the right hand of Christ and receive the reward for the faithful. We do not want to be on His left hand and receive eternal punishment (Matt. 25:31-46). It is important for us to remember that Christ suffered the ultimate sacrifice for us (Heb. 12:2-3; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; 3:18). Jesus said that, instead of fearing those who can only kill physically, we should fear Him who can kill physically and spiritually (Lk. 12:4-5).

            Like Moses, we should also choose correctly, regardless of what we face. Like Moses, we should choose the greater riches of faithfulness with the people of God in Christ (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, ‘Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?’” (Mk. 8:34-37).