Does God Want You to be Rich?
Whether it’s about being content, generous, or even a hard worker, Scripture teaches us how we should deal with getting and using money. Today, I want to tackle the question: what does God think about rich people? But not just people in general; I want to talk about you specifically. Does God want you to be rich?
To start, we might want to define what “rich” means. You can be rich in material wealth, rich in spirit, or rich in contentment. For this quick little Bible study, we are going to be focusing on what God thinks about material wealth. Let’s get right into it.
King Solomon’s Riches
If you’re familiar with some Bible stories, you’ve probably heard of King Solomon. You can find his story in 1 Kings 1-12. Basically, because of his obedience, God came to him in a dream and told him to ask for whatever he wanted. While I would have asked for a trillion dollars, Solomon asked for wisdom! Because of this, God granted his request but also gave him wealth and immortality (or was it just a long life?).
God told Solomon that if he stayed obedient, he would continue to be blessed. However, if he would ever stray, there would be severe and catastrophic consequences. So, after many years of doing a lot of good, Solomon strayed. But that’s just putting it lightly. While you’d think one spouse is enough, he had SEVEN HUNDRED wives! He also kept around 300 mistresses and worshipped other gods with abhorrent and inhumane practices. Because of this, God became angry with Solomon and would tear away the kingdom and give it to someone else.
The Life of Paul
In contrast to Solomon’s life, Paul lived a dangerous and difficult one. Not that ruling an entire kingdom is easy, but let’s be honest: would you rather be a king or a persecuted prisoner? If you don’t know too much about the Apostle Paul, he was a radical and zealous Pharisee gone rogue. He went from hunting Christians to becoming an unrelenting force in spreading the Gospel of Jesus. You can find his story starting a little before Acts 9. He left a life of prestige to follow God into a battlefield filled with many victories but a lot of trials and suffering. Many of the books of the New Testament are written by Paul.
While he wasn’t perfect, Paul stayed faithful to God right until the end. Despite the torture, shipwrecks, hunger, homelessness, and other awful events he had to endure, Paul lead a life that was faithful and obedient to God.
Is your financial life more like Solomon’s or Paul’s?
Let’s put aside the moral accomplishments and failures of Solomon and Paul and take a look at their wealth. Solomon was extremely wealthy. On the other hand, Paul was extremely poor. If you’re like the average Canadian, you might say that the financial stress makes you feel more like Paul. Perhaps, you feel somewhere in the middle: not too little, not too much.
Believe it or not, you are probably more like Solomon. As I pointed out in my Canada Day post, Canadians enjoy some of the highest standards of living in the world! You might not feel like it compares to our standard of “rich”, but compared to those who live on a dollar a day, you live like a king.
Now, this does not mean you are not going through a hard time. I’m not trying to guilt you because others have it worse. God cares when you are struggling to pay the bills. He cares when there’s an emergency and you can’t afford it. When you are suffering, God wants to help pull you through it. Sometimes it requires a miracle, other times it’s solved by applying biblical wisdom about money. I just want to provide some perspective about our material wealth and societal benefits that we enjoy.
What Does God Care About?
Now, because of the contrast between Paul’s post-conversion poverty and Solomon’s wealth, we know that God can use both situations to accomplish His will. So when it comes to your own life, the same rule applies. God cares more about what you do with your money than how much of it you have. God isn’t counting the 0’s in your bank account. He’s not patting you on the back if you get your hands on a million dollars, and He isn’t proud of you for only having a few thousand either.
Instead, God wants you to live and give the way He intended for you. He wants you to reach your full potential. While that looks different for everybody, He wants you to use your material wealth for good. That means walking the line between pleasure and overindulgence. It means giving without expecting anything in return. It means prayerfully asking God to show you the way. These are the things God cares about, and you care about them too!
In the words of Paul:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.Philippians 4:11-13
Whether you are well-off or near the bottom of the tax bracket, my prayer for you is that you would find your contentment in Christ. Living requires money, but living a life of meaning requires a purpose.
How is God leading you to use your money? Leave a comment or get in touch with me here.