I was recently asked the following question:
Is God against prosperity? If God blesses us with much, is there something wrong with that, since the Bible warns against the love of money and the pitfalls of wealth?
This week I though that the topic might be appropriate as many are struggling now with everything going on.
To be very clear, prosperity in and of itself is not wrong. God called Abraham who was a man of great wealth, he also blessed Solomon with wealth, and he called Paul to the mission field and Paul worked to provide all of his own support. The Bible teaches not that wealth is wrong, but that the love of wealth is wrong.
We wrongly love money when we make it more of a priority or give it a more precious place in our heart than we give the Lord. This is not just a problem for the wealthy, but even for the poor. If you have very little money and you spend all your time and energy chasing after it instead of trying to serve the Lord, it is as much a stumbling block as it would be to someone who relies on their money for value and self-worth. In other words, loving money more than we should is a problem for the rich, poor, and those in between.
For those who have more, however, the Bible is clear that God expects them to use their blessings to serve him. Luke 12:48 reads: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” In whatever ways we are blessed by God, we are to use that for the honor and glory of his kingdom.
2 Corinthians 9:7 states: “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” All Christians are to give to ministry, but we are free to give as we are convicted and we are to do so with a heart of gladness. We should be excited to use our means to support God’s Kingdom.
Finally, in Acts 11:29 Luke writes, “And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea.” In this verse there was a specific need in the churches related to a famine. Each person gave as they could.
If someone is wealthy and chooses to spend some of his or her excess on things that he or she desires, that is perfectly acceptable, but those with greater means should do more to support the church and especially those in the church with greater needs.
Instead of focusing on being angry that others have more, or frustrated that others have less, we should learn to be content with what we have been given and we should look for opportunities to take what we have been given and use it for God’s glory. This is true regarding wealth, time, talent, and spiritual gifts.
As people are struggling now, give to whom you can, give to others as you can, use your time, talents, etc. to brighten other people’s lives. And if you are struggling financially, know that this struggle in no way means you are less spiritual. Jesus told his disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter heaven. In Jesus’ day the Jews believed that wealthy people were more spiritual than poor people. Jesus’ illustration was meant to prove that your spiritual health had nothing to do with your monetary wealth.
What can you do this week to help others and ease their burdens with what God has given you?