The Bible doesn’t denounce riches or wealth, but it does clearly condemn yielding to temptations that ultimately accompany wealth. Things like boasting or arrogance or misplaced priorities that violate God’s standards. In the past blog I explained some warnings about wealth from James: 5. We also reviewed what Alistar Begg said concerning what the Bible has to say about poverty and wealth. He summarizes in eleven points. We covered the first five in the last blog but let me briefly review those five and then go on to the rest of the list.
1. The Bible does not cast any aspersions or suspicion upon riches in and of itself.
2. The Bible warns against and condemns the vices which are the snares of the rich.
3. The Bible teaches us that contentment is a great gain.
4. Riches are an expression of God’s kindness.
5. The Bible teaches us there is a peculiar responsibility that falls on the rich.
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:18
What Paul is saying is that when we go into and take from our earthly treasure in order to benefit those with earthly impoverishment we are actually removing from the bank of earth and depositing in the bank of heaven! We take it out of here and give there. Why? Because Jesus said there is a test when we get to heaven. He said, “lay up for yourself treasures in heaven” because in heaven they do not rot or fade away.
Again, there is nothing in these scriptures that say the possessions are bad or that having them is bad. He does not command them to give it all away. He says command them to do good, be rich in good deeds, to be generous and willing to share.
Following are the remaining six Points by Alistar Begg:
6. The Bible teaches that it is difficult, but not impossible for a rich man or woman to enter the kingdom of heaven. Why is that? Richness takes the waiting out of wanting. Rich people often think that they can get anything they want when they want it. A platinum card does not work in heaven. When I realize that everything that I hold dear and build my life upon counts for nothing at the gates of heaven; that my credit is actually a debit and I look then to find where the credit basis is found for entry to heaven; I discover that it is in the person of the Lord Jesus. And Paul had to come to understand that. All the things that I counted as dear and as important and relevant; I now count them as lost for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.
7. The Bible teaches that God hasn’t ordained equality in the distribution of gift or possession. It is clear from reading the Bible that there is diversity: physically, materially, spiritually and intellectually. When Paul asks in 1 Corinthians: 4, who makes you different than someone else? The answer is God. Some people are more capable of increasing their possessions. The very fact that diversity exists and the inequality of the disbursement of stuff is something that has to be reckoned with in the Bible. The answer in the Bible is not some kind of leveling process. It is for those who are wealthy to be rich in kindness, to be ready to give to others and to be willing to share. Jesus taught that in our fallen world, inequality is part and parcel of it.
8. The Bible teaches that God has a peculiar, particular concern for the poor. In Psalm: 68 He is described as a father to the fatherless and a defender of the widows. In Deuteronomy: 10 He loves the alien, giving to the alien food and clothing. In Leviticus: 19 when He maps out the strategy for His people to live as lights in the midst of the culture. God makes special provision for the poor through entrepreneurs, business owners, and anyone who has wealth.
9. The Bible teaches that God’s people are to be equally concerned for those who are poor. That is why in James: 1 God says to look after orphans and widows in their distress.
10. God’s judgment falls upon His people for trampling on the heads of the poor. Amos: 3 “I will not turn back my wrath, they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.”
11. The bible tells us it is sinful to show favoritism on the basis of financial or social status.
God’s lessons in the Bible are clear and succinct. In Haiti there was a group of high school kids who were there to spend a week or two to minister to the poor. One girl who was particularly moved by what she saw, took off her new running shoes and gave them to a young girl her age who had no shoes. She came to the realization that she had plenty of shoes at home and that this girl had a need beyond anything that she had ever seen. Maybe it is time for us to ask God to write His word on our hearts in case we need to take off our shoes…not because it is a tax write off.
Source: Truth for Life
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By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring about significant impact for His Kingdom.