What are your thoughts about money and wealth? Do you take a dim view of those who acquired a great amount? Do you feel as though it makes you less holy if you have a lot of money and possessions? Perhaps, it’s the opposite. Maybe, you believe a lack shows you’re out of favor with God. What does Scripture really have to say about these things? In truth, many Christians have been bamboozled when it comes to wealth. Most have their own ideas of wealth and riches, but where does God come down on this?
Here’s a quandary: on one side, the Bible says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 4:10 [see verses 6-11 for fuller context]). And yet it also says, “But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:18 [see verses 16-20 for context]). There are many verses pertaining to wealth and riches, which seem opposed to each other; nonetheless, they fit perfectly together. Proverbs has much to say about it, for one. We could list numerous ones here, but that’s something you can dig into more, if you like. So where are we?
Chew on this: wealth and prosperity are God’s idea. They serve several purposes. One of them we just read: to confirm His covenant. It’s Kingdom related. Wealth serves as a multiplier in the right hands (see 2 Corinthians 9:6-10). Why do churches receive offerings? To pad the pastor’s pocket? Of course, not. It’s to further the cause of Christ. Face it, money plays a big part in getting things done. It’s a tool to be stewarded well. The more you possess, the more you have to give. Yes, people have abused this principle for self-gain. There’s no denying it. However, as whole, it’s a very small percentage. It’s just when abuses are made a public spectacle, they overshadow the overall good.
Obviously, if your aim in life is to become rich and accumulate many possessions, your aim is way off. Money and possessions are not intrinsically bad or even evil; they’re neutral. It’s the heart behind their use that makes all the difference. 3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. Having a lot of money does not necessarily make you wealthy. Wealth in our Deuteronomy passage means ability, which includes riches, but it’s more than that. This word carries with it the idea of virtue, uprightness and integrity. It connects with valor in relation to strength and might. In other words, to be truly wealthy, one must be person of valor, without the ungodly lust for money and power. Wealth is holistic and in relation to the Kingdom, it’s for the glory of God and the good of others. The Bible has a lot to say about the rich who abuse their power -they are not wealthy. In proper context, wealth is good.