Wealth from the Bible

by Khaleef Crumbley on January 10, 2010

in Bible,Biblical Finance,Personal Finance

I was sitting here just thinking about how foolish it is to trust in wealth. Especially for us Christians who have God’s Word to guide us in all areas of life. Larry Burkett once said, “It is clear from God’s Word that affluence presents the greatest threat to our walk with the Lord”.

Psalms 49:10-12 reads:

For he sees that even wise men die;

The stupid and the senseless alike perish

And leave their wealth to others.

Their inner thought is that their houses are forever

And their dwelling places to all generations;

They have called their lands after their own names.

But man in his pomp will not endure;

He is like the beasts that perish.

Proverbs 11:4 tells us:

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.

Proverbs 11:28 states:

He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.

These verses – along with a myriad of others – make it clear that wealth does nothing to gain favor in the sight of God, and even the “favor” that we gain with men is short-lived. Our goals and plans in life should not revolve around money or prosperity. On this very topic Christ gives the following instructions:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21

God promises to supply our needs if we only focus on His Kingdom and His Righteousness (Matthew 6:33). God gives us the ability, strength and intellect to be able to support ourselves and also makes provisions for those for a physically unable to do so (cf 1Timothy 5:3-16). We are to be good stewards of the money and possessions that God has given to us and seek to be a blessing to God’s Kingdom (on His terms).

So what should our attitude be towards money and wealth? The Apostle Paul puts it this way:

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-10

In light of what we’ve seen today – and we’ve just scratched the surface on this topic – a fair question would be, “What is God’s view of people who are wealthy?”, or “Are they commanded to sell all they have and give it to the poor (like the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19:16-23)?”  Here are God’s instructions to the rich:

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed. ~ 1 Timothy 6:17-19

So while it is difficult for a born-again believer who is rich in the things of the world to be devoted to God, it is not impossible. Our socio-economic standing must be subjected to Christ just like everything else in our lives.

Be sure to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” where we have imperishable crowns (1 Corinthians 9:25; James 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 2:19), a dwelling place prepared especially for us by Christ Himself (John 14:2-3), and a reward for all of our work on earth for God’s Kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

Take a minute to comment on this article below.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nik @ Midlife Finance

Thanks! I’m really blessed with this article. God bless you. :)

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2 Khaleef Crumbley

Praise God! I think this was the first post that I wrote on the site (at least the fist that I can remember). :)

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3 Uche nwokolo

This post brings to my remembrance why we need to hold on to God the more because money wealth can lead us astray as seen in the case of the rich man, who refused to sell his posessions for eternal life. Thank you for this post

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4 Khaleef Crumbley

Yes, such a great illustration. We can never put worldly riches ahead of our true treasure in Heaven. Thank you for the comment.

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5 Josh @ Live Well Simply

Great list of bible verses on finances. It isn’t common to find wealthy Christians who give generously to God’s work. I have a few friends that fall into that category.

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6 ditchtheboss

The trick is in the heart. Jesus tells us to seek his kingdom first. That means that no matter what we do, and how much money we have, if we have our hearts set on Jesus, He will help us to succeed in whatever we do. Lets not forget that all things work tigether for good of those who love the Lord.

Thank you for another great article
http://www.ditchtheboss.blogspot.com

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7 John Armstrong

What a great reminder for me to focus more on God. I have been really worried about finances and trying to get on top of everything.
Whilst we have to be responsible for our finances, your topic reminds me that I also need to focus on God.

Thanks again

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8 Khaleef Crumbley

Very true. We have to be sure that we only use our finances and wealth as a tool to glorify God.

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9 Steven and Debra

Trusting in wealth can certainly be problematic.

A problem arises, however, when attempting to evaluate this in our own lives. It is much easier, it seems, to evaluate whether wealth is problematic for our neighbor than it is for ourselves and we believe the reason for this is that most people don’t consider themselves wealthy. It is always the other guy or gal who has too much money for their own good, isn’t it?

The reason many people don’t consider themselves wealthy is that they seemingly lack gratitude for what they have. They don’t exhibit appreciation for what they have by taking care of their possessions. Things came a bit too easy, perhaps, during the boom times. We flipped our houses, our cars, our girl friends, our spouses, and our stocks as easily as we flipped our disposable razors into the trash can and, as a result, the trash can is basically where our economy and many marriages ended up as well.

If we are grateful for what we have and understand the nature and source of our abundance, there is no amount of money or increase to our wealth that becomes problematic. If, on the other hand, we lack gratitude for what we have, having a bank balance of 1 dollar or 1 million dollars, or any amount in between, becomes problematic.

So, it is not the size of our bank balance that is the determining factor of whether wealth has become problematic, but rather how much gratitude we have or don’t have for those things, however small or great, that we’ve been blessed with.

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10 Khaleef Crumbley

@ Steven & Debra, thanks for the comment! It can be very difficult to make the same assessments about ourselves that we so easily make about others.

You bring up a great point about people lacking gratitude. I often say that this nation has gotten so fat over the last few decades that we now feel entitled to “the very best of life”! Understanding that our provision comes from God and it is our duty to seek His Kingdom and righteousness, would immediately destroy materialism in our lives.

Thank you for your insight!

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11 Brad Harmon

What an excellent collection of verses you put together. I love the point you make here:

These verses – along with a myriad of others – make it clear that wealth does nothing to gain favor in the sight of God, and even the “favor” that we gain with men is short-lived. Our goals and plans in life should not revolve around money or prosperity.

God is no respecter of persons, and He is not impressed by our wealth at all (since it is His anyway). Even men are fickle with the respect wealth can buy. It seems that one never has enough to keep paying the price for this respect.

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12 Khaleef Crumbley

Hello Brad, thanks for the comment. You are so correct, God is not impressed by our wealth! Over the next few months I plan to write more on these subjects – especially to add some balance to these thoughts.

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13 Danielle Coleman

Very often in the bible you find great wealth accompanied by great men of valor usually kings or just very prosperious men in all areas. They owned land, servents ect. Because of this a lot of christians believe that prosperity is a sign of Favor of God. It is clear here that not only is that not true, but it seems like the saying “more money, more problems” is more accurate.

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14 Ruddigar Simpson

Excellent article

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