Wealth or Poverty?
Who is the better Christian…the poor or the wealthy? Which one does the Bible honor most or encourage us to be? There is not an easy either-or answer. David said in 1 Chronicles 29:2, “Wealth and honor come from You (God); You are the ruler of all things.” In 1 Kings 3:11-13 and 2 Chronicles 9:2, Solomon was promised riches and became the richest of all kings. Clearly God does not despise wealth for it is an honor to receive these from Him.
Conversely, in Mark 10:23 and Luke 16:13, Jesus states that it is “hard” for the wealthy to enter the kingdom. Further, Jesus said that no servant can serve two masters (God and wealth). Instead, Christians are, “Blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3). We also cannot forget the words in Luke 6:20, Blessed are the poor…”.
Certainly it is more difficult for the wealthy and successful Christian to remain humble and meek in order to see his or her need of a savior. That is the risk, the temptation to depend on one’s own abilities and wealth in this present world and not accurately see their need for salvation in Christ alone. So, which should we strive to be: the poor in both spirit and wealth, focused on servanthood in today’s church; or the wealthy and successful believer, able to assist greatly in funding needs of ministries the church is commanded to accomplish?
The answer is for each to know and understand one’s individual spiritual gifts and natural talents. That is, who God has created you to be. The poor should not despise their poverty, live with a scarcity mindset, and wallow in envy rather than serving with joy. The wealthy and successful should not “lord their positions and possessions over others” assuming that it is given for them to always lead and make decisions. They should give generously and wisely in supporting the Lord’s work and not over-use their wealth for themselves.
One couple whom the Lord had blessed with wealth, spent a scheduled time each year determining their living and giving goals. They often found that they could live on 20% of their earnings including all generous offerings to the church, investments, etc. Then they would seek the Lord in spending the remaining 80% on ministries, missions, benevolence and more. They lived humbly before God and others around them. This example does not set a standard for percentages, but it does give us an important principle for living.
In our present world there is a tremendous need for those who can fund and promote that which is needed to bring our nation back to God and godly living. Examples include politicians, school board members and community programs that are godly, ethical and biblically based. With these in mind, we should watch carefully for both the wealthy and poor in our churches who possess the humble spirit of servanthood in wisdom and biblical understanding for our times.
Pastors should be bold in encouraging the wealthy to consider generous support of community, state and federal leaders who can enact laws and programs to right the wrongs in our nation. And encourage everyone in their church to be examples for others to see as they authentically embrace a biblical worldview in all they say and do.
Be bold in inspiring young people to follow biblical values in all aspects of the church and their secular world. Encourage everyone to get involved as they follow the Spirit’s leading, and in so doing give all a clear view of how God works (2 Timothy 1:13).
Lead in word and deed!
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