Heard a fellow Christian the other day remark, “I want to be rich – I want to make a lot of money!” Their comment caught my attention! In fairness to them, they went on to qualify their statement by saying they desired to use the money for noble, altruistic ends and to further causes tied to the Kingdom of God. Having said that, according to the Bible having that desire comes with some significant spiritual risks!
Just as that person’s comment caught my attention, so did my Bible reading this morning from James… Pretty direct – even a bit “in your face” as they say…
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.” (from James 5:1–6 ESV)
Wow! Now, I believe James is warning the “ruthless rich” (and we know there are some of those characters around… even some who claim to be “Christians”). But it doesn’t have to be that way! It is possible to be a generous, compassionate rich person! The following passage is ALSO in the Bible…
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs… As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” (from 1 Timothy 6:9–10 and 17-19 ESV)
During “coffee with the Lord” I’ve also been reading Proverbs and it is filled with both warning to the greedy and assured blessing to those who are generous (there are just too many of them to list here, but you ought to check it out!).
Got to tell you, I think the wisest course of action for “your’s truly” is not to make wealth and possessions my target – my goal! If the Lord blesses me that way because of wise stewardship; Praise the Lord! I do know I want to avoid like the plague being “ruthlessly rich!” My personal experience? Godly generosity is a lot of fun and fulfilling as can be! And God is pleased! When I practice it, I’m convinced my heart, as His child, has picked up some of His DNA!