Christians & Wealth: Untruth From America's Pulpits

There is untruth at both ends of the religious spectrum concerning money.  

First, there are those who teach that God promises that all his children will be successful, even healthy and wealthy if they just have faith.  This is not true at all, at least not on face value.  This is because what a lot of people call faith is not true faith at all (Hebrews 10:38,39).

What the Lord does teach us is that we reap what we sow.   If we are lazy with our hands, lazy with our minds (unlearned), fearful, and /or living an ungodly lifestyle, there are no promises of success, no matter how much we “pray and believe.”   There is no success in these circumstances, no matter how much we “name and claim.” 

The Lord also teaches us that we must take entrepreneurial risk in order to please Him, and gain a return (Matthew 25:24 and following).  This is capitalism at its best, which the Bible teaches as God’s plan for creating wealth.  

Communism is nowhere taught in the Bible.  In the passages in Acts where everyone helped everyone else, this was not communism.   Note that everyone had their own land (which is against communist doctrine) and sold it (this is capitalism), and chose of their own will to give to those in need (they were not forced to give it to others as in communism or modern socialism, which are both unbiblical and ungodly).

He also teaches us that we must have wisdom and knowledge.

“Receive… knowledge rather than choice gold.”--Proverbs 8:10

“And by knowledge shall thy chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”--Proverbs 24:4

So, we must study, and learn about how money works, how investing works, how to leverage the time and efforts of others in order to create wealth, etc.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who teach that the money is in itself evil, and therefore capitalism is evil.   This is equally untrue.  Verses such as the following are taken out of context:

 “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.   For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.   But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.   Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”  1 Timothy 6:9-12

“...The love of money is the root of all evil....” has been quoted incorrectly in many ages in many places.    Often it is quoted as, “Money is the root of all evil.”   The scripture clearly teaches that it is not the money that is evil, but the LOVE of it.  

Loving money, rather than God, will bring people to temptation, sadness, lusts, and apostasy.   Loving money leads to coveting (inordinately desiring) things, and coveting things leads to loving money—it is a vicious cycle. 

A wealthy man who is a “man of God,” however, can follow after “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness.”   He can “fight the good fight” and “lay hold on eternal life” to which he has been called.  It is not money that is evil, it is the LOVE of it, which replaces our proper love for, and dependence upon God.

The idea that money itself, or that wealth creation, is evil would contradict the fact that many people in the Bible who were the closest to God, were also wealthy.   For example:  Abraham, Job, David, Solomon, John, Mathew, Zacchaeus, and Levi.

Therefore, it is untrue that God has promised that all His children will have a lot of money, because there are conditions which must be met, such as knowledge, hard work, wisdom, godliness, etc.   At the same time it is equally untrue that it is sinful for God’s children to create wealth.   The key is to simply think of money as an important tool, rather than something to be loved.

Now, let’s shift gears for a moment.    Let us look at a couple of scriptures, and think about what they imply. 

“...For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”  2 Cor. 12.14

Have you seen the bumper sticker, “I am spending my children’s inheritance”?   This principle is totally out of line with what the Bible teaches.  Paul says parents ought to lay up for the children.   This clear teaching is one of the first keys to wealth creation in families.   Here is the second key:

 “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children....” Proverbs 13.22

God considers a man who leaves an inheritance to his children and grandchildren to be a “good man.”

Societies which tend towards the idea of the family business create a lot of wealth.   Why?   Because each generation learns things, masters concepts, contrives secrets, and passes all that knowledge about the business on to the next generation.   The next generation, in turn, adds additional knowledge and everything leads to each generation having a greater and greater competitive advantage over other people and businesses.  

Wealth is created and grows exponentially each generation.   When financing is needed, it comes from the family.   When connections are needed, they come from who the family knows.  We have almost lost this art in America, where the new way is to send children off to college, where they are taught to go out and “get a job.”   They work for a boss who is threatened by their rise in the company, so they are held back.   Each generation tends to become a little less successful, and things are moving in the wrong direction.  When someone does attempt something entrepreneurial, money is borrowed from the bank, and high interest is paid, and there is great risk exacerbated by the lack of competitive secrets learned from previous generations.   The wheel is re-invented requiring twice as much time and money as projected.

Laying aside an inheritance for the children and grandchildren is a great way to give them a start in this cold, hard world, and a competitive advantage.   It is even better if they have a family business to join.   It is impossible to cause any of this to happen if we only make a “good living.”   In other words if all we do is make enough to provide food, clothing, and shelter for our families—we live hand to mouth—we will not have anything left at the end of life to leave to the children and grandchildren.   Therefore a good living is not enough.   We should strive to create wealth.

Have you ever read in the Bible that if you skip next week’s church service or revival meeting you have denied the faith and are worse than an infidel?   No, the Bible nowhere says such a thing.  

However it does say that if you do not take care of your household financially you HAVE denied the Christian faith, and are worse than an infidel! 

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 

1 Peter 5.8

Teach each generation skill-sets for the future!

Teach each generation skill-sets for the future!

Creating provision for the family, even wealth for the children and grandchildren, is actually a part of the true biblical faith of Christianity.   Side by side with the great doctrines of salvation by grace, redemption, reconciliation, imputation, propitiation, justification and glorification, are the apostles teachings on the responsibility of the Christian to take care of his own, down to the 2nd and 3rd generation! 

Therefore, wealth creation is a part of the Christian faith, and to ignore this could make you worse than an infidel in God’s eyes.  You have probably never in your life been taught this at church, but it is the truth and it is clearly taught in the Scriptures.

Receiving wealth from the Lord enables a person to be able to help not only his family, but also others in need.   If a person receives his wealth from the Lord, and shares it with others, and does not worship his money, then his wealth brings no sorrow with it, as the wealth of the wicked brings. 

“The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.  The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”    Proverbs 10:21-22