Is it evil to have money? To answer this question, I will pose still another question. Can good come from having money? If you answered yes, we are in agreement. Wealth and riches can be used to bless others and glorify God. However, our motive and attitude toward money is something we should all take a moment to examine.
“The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.” 1 Samuel 2:7-8a (NKJV)
“As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NKJV)
“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV)
Although we may not understand why God permits some folks to be rich and others to be poor, there is no denying the fact that God ordains some to be better off financially than others. Abraham, whom God dearly loved, was wealthy.
“Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.” Genesis 13:2 (NKJV)
With that said, let me bring to attention a few warnings we can find in the Bible about aspirations to be rich. To start, 1 Timothy 6:9-10 states, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Clearly, it is not money but rather the love of money that causes misery and trouble. In fact, we are told to flee from this lust, instead, pursuing the virtues of righteous living, faith, and godliness while keeping our focus on eternal things.
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. “ 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NKJV)
Another warning can be found in Luke 16:13 (NIV), “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
And after reading Luke 18:25, those of us who are financially set should have a sincere heart of deep gratitude. “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:25 (NKJV)
Sadly, many of us put our trust and faith in money. This is folly! For riches come and go and only the love of God can uphold us.
“For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.” James 1:11 (NKJV)
“Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:28 (NIV)
“Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.” Proverbs 23:4-5 (NASB)
“Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.” Ecclesiastes 7:12 (NIV)
The Bible provides instruction to those who have been blessed with financial security. Consider once again the words found in, 1 Timothy 6.
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NKJV)
The reality is that everything belongs to God. What we own is not of our own doing. What we possess is only because God has enabled us with gifts and talents. The wealth God has given to some is meant to be shared, in order to bless those who have little or nothing.
“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35 (NKJV)
“He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.” Proverbs 19:17 (NKJV)
“For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
2 Corinthians 8:13-15 (NKJV)
Above all, we are called to be content. Contentment means that we are fully satisfied. The apostle Paul spoke about being content in all circumstances. Acquiring a sense of fulfillment in every season of life, through all circumstances and states of being, comes with a learning curve. It is a state of being that must be learned simply by living life. Paul stated that the secret to continual contentment came from trusting God to strengthen and provide during periods of abundance and need. We need strength during times of prosperousness for we can easily become haughty, prideful, and neglectful of God’s grace when times are painless.
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)
We were birthed into this world with nothing but our birthday suits. The Word of God tells us to be content with food and clothing. 1 Timothy 6 does not list shelter or a home as something necessary for contentment. America is such a wealthy country, and the desire to be rich is such a temptation and snare. Consider all God has provided and then set out to be truly content with what you have. Godliness with contentment is great gain and the peace of Christ rests within our contented hearts.