“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11)
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17).
The reason why the church at Laodicea was lukewarm was because when it came to riches, they were hot. In short, their wealth made them self-sufficient, and self-sufficiency is what lukewarmness in religion is. The reason the Lord would spew them out of His mouth is because they had said to themselves that they were “rich, and increased with good.” The end result of this was that they had “need of nothing,” which meant they had need of nothing from the Lord. If you don’t need anything, then you don’t need anything from Him.
This is the perennial temptation that comes with wealth, and Scripture warns of this constantly. The Israelites were warned as they came out of the wilderness—where God gave them water from the rock and bread from the sky—that they would be tempted to this self-sufficiency. “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.” (Deut. 8:17). The rich fool looked out on his need for bigger barns with some complacency (Luke 12:18). Jesus says not to lay up treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy (Matt. 6:19). And Paul tells the rich in this world not to trust in “uncertain riches” (1 Tim. 6:17). In short, the Laodiceans apparently thought that in their case riches would not do what riches always do.
And the apparent lack of need in one area covers over the desperate actual need in another. While they said they had “need of nothing,” what did they in fact need? There is only one thing worse than being wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, and that is to be all five of those things and add to it the sixth misery of not knowing about it.