I read a lot of personal finance bloggers, many of them Christian. It seems to me that many of them ask “Can we?” in regard to Christian wealth, but rarely ask if we should. Dave Ramsey, for example, talks a lot about handling money God’s way. He says that God’s way will lead to having a lot of money that you can give away later after you are established. Very similar to the prosperity gospel I was a part of; the goal was always to get more money for the sake of God’s kingdom, but it would make us wealthy along the way.
There is no specific text in scripture that says the accumulation of wealth is a sin. However, there are enough warnings given concerning money and the love of it that we should ask if we should be pursuing wealth, at the same rate and with the same intensity as the rest of the world, is really worth it. For example:
Matthew 19 – After telling the rich young ruler to sell all that he has he turns to his disciples and says “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
The disciples were astonished because they saw wealth as a direct sign of God’s blessing. If that person couldn’t enter the kingdom then who could? This is because money clouds our vision and prevents us from seeing our need for God’s grace. (And no there is no evidence of a small door called the “eye of the needle” that camels had to crawl through)
1 Tim – But godliness with contentment is great gain,  for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  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.
Paul calls to be content with food and clothing because of the inherent dangers in the pursuit of wealth. Of course, we don’t pursue money for it’s own sake. Of all the Christians pursuing wealth, not one of them would say it is for their own sake. Paul seems to be warning a Christian that no longer exists in our day. We only want money for the good it can do, but Paul didn’t seem to be to concerned about our good intentions. He seems to think the risk wasn’t worth the results. The very thing we pursue with such vigor can tempt and draw us to destruction. Is it worth the risk?
I know I am taking a hard stand and I would love to hear your comments below as I process this.
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