Christians and Money: What the Bible Says About Wealth And Prosperity
Christians and Money. What a stressful combination of words that has been weighing on my heart for quite some time. I have been feeling so guilty for wanting financial success. My thought process was that if you are rich then you are greedy and greed is obviously a sin that changes you. Can that happen? Yes, and it happens very frequently. I believe that's where the misconception come from that seeking monetary gain automatically equates to greed and sin. However, it doesn't have to if you take a couple of steps in order to not let this happen. Before I go into the actual post, I want you to know that I have chosen fairly strong verses. I'm not a financial extremist by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I'm the exact opposite. I've chosen these strong verses for people like me that 1 ) struggle with the concept of seeking out the financial gain and 2 ) struggle with financial procrastination. So, let's take a look at my findings, shall we?
1 ) God wants the best for us financially...and actually commands it
It is expressed on several different occasions about financial responsibility and working. One verse that sticks out in my mind is Proverbs 6:6-11 NIV
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,a little folding of the hands to rest—
and poverty will come on you like a thiefand scarcity like an armed man.
In other words, your lack of action is irresponsible and warns us that it will lead to poverty. This may sound ignorant on my part but I always was under the impression (especially growing up) that poverty was a good thing. Like your a Christian martyr or something. No, eating Bon-Bon's while sitting on the couch watching the bills pile up does not make you a good Christian. In fact, God actually despises it. You may be thinking, "I don't want this to change me and who I am in Christ". I can not agree with you more!! Which brings me to my next point.
2 ) Money Doesn't Have to Change You
As mentioned in the intro, you don't have to let it change you. And the best way that I've come to find in my personal experience is a good community. First, I think it's important to define what a "good community" is. A community that encourages financial responsibility as well as other Christian values. I have done life in two different ways: 1 ) with a good community and 2 ) without a good community. The second option, the severity, and frequency of my mistakes/sins have been significantly more, financial as well as other mistakes/sins. Now staying grounded with financially responsible, Christian community is definitely a plus. In fact, it is warned against being the alternative. Take a look at this verse:
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV
So, if having money taking you away from God concerns you, that is a great thing to be concerned about and I definitely applaud that genuine concern. Just make sure that you stay close to the grounded, financially responsible Christians. They are out there! :-)
3 ) God Uses Your Financial Success For Good
View money as a tool. A tool to get from point A to point B. This tool that can help you provide for your family as well as others. In fact, once again God actually commands it.
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8
This financial responsibility does not stop with your immediate family members, but those in need as well.
Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Okay, so that was some pretty heavy stuff. I really don't want you to think if you're going through a financial difficulty, that I (or God) insinuating that you are lazy. Please don't misinterpret that at all. The only take away that I was going for is seeking out financial gain is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, there are several verses backing up this view that seeking financial gain is not only a good thing but actually commanded of you as a Christian. God is a lot more reasonable and practical than I used to give him credit for. He understands that you need to provide for your family, save for a rainy day, etc.