Is it a Sin to Be Rich?
The Bible never implies that in and of itself the possession of wealth is a sin. A rich person can be a true follower of God. There are many instances of good Christians who were blessed in worldly possessions. The poor person is to be glad in his Christian privileges, in this life and the life to come, and the wealthy man is to rejoice in his Christian humility rather than in his wealth.
Obstacle to Christian Growth
The Bible does clearly indicate that wealth may be a serious obstacle to a successful Christian experience. “Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23). It is hard for a wealthy man to get into the kingdom of heaven not because he is wealthy, but because of his attitude toward wealth (Luke 12:15, 21). Abraham was “very rich” (Genesis 13:2) and at the same time “the Friend of God” (James 2:23). However, the “rich young ruler” placed his possessions before God.
Jesus says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
The believer should not worry about the material necessities of life because of his confidence that God knows his needs and will provide for them. Jesus taught, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you…“ (Matthew 6: 31–34).
Using Wealth for the Glory of God
All that a man has in this life is merely lent to him by God; only the “treasure” he lays up in heaven can truly be called his own. The wealthy believer can find many ways for using his riches. The troubles of others in the church, who may have lost their job because of their faith, give him a chance to share his blessings. And he can assist the widows, orphans and the sick.
Also, he can use his resources to support the mission field. In the apostolic era, the missionary trips of the apostles, required financial help, and the rich church members gladly supported the cause of God. This sense of stewardship on the part of early believers to the resources given to them by God is a noble illustration for the members in the church today who are blessed with wealth.
The Fading Glory of Materialism
Life with its glories quickly passes away and the “son of man” “shall be made as grass” (Isaiah 51:12). The wealthy believer who sees life in its proper perspective will seize the opportunity to share his resources before the time when he can’t do that (James 1:10).
The man who depends on his resources will one day pass away along with them, without securing the most desired blessing, eternal life. Thus, the brother who is wealthy needs to see its vanity (Ecclesiastes 1-5). Instead, he should focus his attention upon the wealth of Christian privileges in this life and upon the riches of eternal life (Matthew 19:29). The prosperous Christian’s only sure basis for rejoicing is found in the security of his relationship with the Lord, for this is his only true wealth which will never fade away.
In His service,