Leaders Reclaiming Biblical Stewardship

A Biblical View of Wealth

Is Poverty Next to Godliness?

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by Stewardship Central | Stewardship Defined | Comments

Messages from our culture about wealth and success can be pretty confusing.

On one hand, we’re encouraged to work hard and succeed. On the other hand, those who are winning with money and in their careers are told they’re evil. They’ve got too much, and that isn’t fair to those with less. That attitude is cropping up a lot these days, and it’s toxic.

People with this mentality have a spirit of poverty. They believe wealth is evil and the poorer you are, the godlier you must be. It’s okay to get by, they say, but being wealthy makes you a bad person. Even those who are successful have been hit so many times by this message that they actually start to feel guilty! But they shouldn’t fall for it.

This attitude is a sure sign of spiritual immaturity. Besides, this isn’t the picture of wealth we see in Scripture—when it’s in the hands of godly men and women. Proverbs 21:20 says, “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil.” In other words, wise people save and invest money—they’re building wealth.

Think of all the wise, wealthy people in the Bible. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, David and Solomon are just a few. God blessed each of these men immeasurably! Each of them was a devoted, faithful servant of God who handled wealth—a very powerful and potentially dangerous tool—according to His principles. That means they viewed their wealth as a responsibility.

They knew their wealth came from God and that helped them avoid the temptation to spend it recklessly. Instead, much of it went toward worshiping God and honoring His commands. As a result, God continued to pour out His blessings on them.

But here’s the thing. They also enjoyed their wealth. Solomon, probably the wealthiest and wisest man to have ever lived at that time, explained wealth this way:

Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

Sure, Solomon made some huge mistakes. He was imperfect, and by the time he wrote Ecclesiastes, he had experienced some major setbacks in his life. But while he condemned the misuse of wealth, he also acknowledged that good stewards of God’s gifts aren’t ungodly people. Solomon emphasized that everything we have comes from God—not our own doing—so our focus needs to stay on God.

That’s a sign of spiritual maturity. It reflects a spirit of gratitude, and it’s the way the Bible tells us to approach wealth.

Spiritually mature people realize that God blesses us with wealth because He loves us. He wants us to enjoy what He has given us. But He also wants us to use His resources to take care of our own households, prepare for the future, leave a legacy for our descendants, and be generous givers who bless others.

So it’s okay to budget and save for a big purchase, to plan for retirement, and to send our kids to college debt-free. And, when God has blessed us with so much wealth that we’ve provided for our own family and still have more overflow, we can bless others outrageously. When we give God the ownership of our finances, wealth is a blessing—for us and for those we bless in return.

What does the Bible really say about money and wealth? How much is "enough"? Learn this and more in Dave Ramsey's brand-new book, The Legacy Journey.

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