Does God Want You to be Rich? (Time, 10 Sept 2006)
This is an interesting article. In my view, God is more concerned with me living and working to alleviate someone else’s poverty than he is about me becoming rich.
I liked the t-shirt that read, “More than enough is too much.” This world can’t afford the lavish lifestyle of the rich West–environmentally or socially.
It’s not that Jesus wants us to be poor just for the sake of being poor; it’s that he wants us to live for the service of others rather than for the accumulation of wealth.
He wants us to have full lives (John 10:10), and he knows how to give us good gifts (Matthew 7:11), but I believe it’s a mistake to define a full life and good gifts in purely monetary terms. I believe he was talking more about the fruits of the spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
I know he wants me to have food (he did miracles to provide bread, fish and wine), but he doesn’t want me to amass wealth and neglect the dietary needs of others.
He even said it’s harder for a rich person to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matt. 19:24). He was clearly against building fortunes (Luke 12:16-21 & Matt. 6:19). Jesus expresses the need for the rich to take care of the poor in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-26).
And a couple more verses:
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
It would appear that the prosperity gospel is on pretty shaky Biblical grounds!