Sometimes when you look at really wealthy people, you’re tempted to think, “They’re bad people. They’re evil people.” That very well could be true, because sometimes wealth can be an indication of evil on a couple levels.
One, if a person gains their wealth through unscrupulous, immoral means, well, their wealth represents evil, doesn’t it? Obviously, the rich guys in the mafia, they’re rich because of their evil, their corruption, and so forth.
And drug pushers and people who make money by exploiting other people and taking advantage of other people, or selling products that hurt other people. If you got wealth from that, you’re going to have to answer to God.
But we do find people in the Bible who were wealthy whom God did not condemn them for their wealth and so it must be possible to be wealthy and not be evil.
When Wealth Is Not an Indication of Evil
How would that be possible? Well, it would be possible if you earned your wealth by a righteous means, doing something or doing things that are not displeasing to God. And of course there’s lots of ways to make money that are not displeasing to God.
If you’re offering a good or a service to people and they’re paying for it. They’re paying what they value it at or else they wouldn’t be buying your goods or services. And you’re providing them a service. If you make profit over that, well then there’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever. So number one, as long as we’re not making our money by some immoral means.
Then secondly, once you’ve gained those profits, what should you do with them? Well, of course you have to provide for your own needs, the needs of your family. But beyond that, as we’ve talked about in previous Little Lessons, you want to lay up as much treasure in Heaven as you possibly can, because that’s the only place it’s going to last. And so Scripture condemns those who are hoarding their wealth.
The Evil of Hoarding Wealth
Jesus told a story one time about a rich guy whose farm really prospered (see Luke 12:13-21). And he said, “What should I do? I think I’ll just tear down my barns and build bigger barns and live a life of ease. Eat, drink, and be merry.”
And God said, “You’re stupid. You’re a fool because tonight you’re going to die.” You’re not rich toward God. You’re just rich in yourself. You’ve got earthly treasures piled up, nothing piled up in Heaven. What a fool he was. And that’s what God said about him, “You fool, you’ve laid up all your treasure on Earth, you’re not rich toward God.”
So if you make money in a legitimate way—a way that doesn’t displease God—and then you are generous with it to serve other people with it, and lay up treasure in heaven, help the genuinely poor, and try to help them get out of their poverty (not making them dependent upon you or actually hurting them in the process), honestly helping them, and if you’re helping to spread the gospel around the world, supporting missionaries and Evangelists and apostles and so forth, well that’s great.
One of the Richest Men in the Bible
One example that comes to mind of a guy who fit that description, to a degree at least anyways, was the Old Testament patriarch Job. You can’t argue with this because God said personally about Job, “There’s nobody like Job who fears me and turns from evil.” I mean, he was God’s number one guy on the face of the Earth.
And yet he obviously by that day’s standards could be considered a millionaire in what he owned in livestock and the employees that worked for him.
Then that’s another blessing about many wealthy people, is that they are creating opportunities for other people. That’s how they get wealthy. By creating opportunities for other people who then they join together to collectively work together to produce goods and services that benefit others who are willing to pay for those goods and services. That’s called a corporation, a company. More than just a sole proprietorship where one person who’s doing the work and charging a fee for his work.
We’re talking about organizing people, giving them opportunities. I’m not here to say that what we’re seeing currently in at this state in the Western world, the compensation that is received by some very, very high paid executives compared to what’s received by the others who contribute to the overall wealth of the entire corporation.
I’m not here to say that because I think that there could be some moral implications there when the CEO is making literally hundreds of millions of dollars, and the others who are quite valuable and contributing their own gifts and talents are making so little. I think that every corporate executive and every board of directors needs to think about that. On the other hand, when there’s free markets, companies have to compete for the top executives.
So that’s why some of these people are paid so much because they bring that much value and other people in those corporations are benefiting by the value that is brought by the top person.
Christians, Rich and Poor
Generally speaking, some people get their money easily who are wealthy, but it’s not usually the case, not usually the case. I’m blessed.
I know people all over the world. I’ve stayed with the poorest people on this planet in their little wood shacks and huts and remote places, and I’ve stayed with people in very palatial homes who I sense have the Spirit of God and are very much concerned about the kingdom of God.
And people who are extremely gifted and talented and hard working and who have added value to other people’s lives and they’ve benefited from it. They’re not just indulging themselves. They’re laying up a lot of treasure in heaven, so I’m not going to be their judge. Okay?
Make All You Can, Save All You Can, Give All You Can
I like what John Wesley said about money. “Make all you can, save all you can,” not save up a bank account. Be frugal. So don’t spend so much. And then, “Give all you can.”
Well, there’s a lot of Scripture packed in that little maximum. “Make all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” I think that’s a good Christian viewpoint, a biblical viewpoint, of the subject of money.
Thank you so much for joining me on today’s Little Lesson. See you next time.