Posted on Wednesday, December 12th 2012 at 10:40 am
Jesus told the story of a rich, young ruler (business man) who asked him "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus asked him if he had kept commandments like not stealing, lying, committing adultery, murder and honoring his father and mother. He said he had, so Jesus looked at him with love and told him he lacked one thing: to sell all he had and give to the poor. Reminds me of Curly in City Slickers, it often comes down to one thing! This man kept the law and from all outward appearances was righteous. But, the one thing that he lacked was that he coveted (that was also the commandment Jesus left out of his inquiry). This was not an indictment of his wealth; this was a problem with his heart. The young man went away sad. I have often wondered what happened to him. Some believe he could be Joseph who was a wealthy man that helped fund the early church (he was nicknamed Barnabas which means "son of encouragement"). That would fit since Jesus came to draw sinners to repentance.
This is the unique balance that we see in scripture. We know that the "love of money is the root of all kinds of evil" (1 Timothy 6:10). So it isn't money that is the problem, it is the love of money that is the root. How could you have the gift of giving (Romans 12: 6-8) unless you have something to give? So for those that have been blessed with wealth I believe it is for 3 reasons:
1. So that you can exercise the gift of giving. This also involves stewardship and discernment. How you give and who you give to is critical. You can actually hurt people by giving to them.
2. To circulate what he has given you by creating jobs (through your business) or opportunity through investment. I never got a job from someone that was poor. Gifted business people give the gift that keeps on giving; a job.
3. To enjoy what God has given you. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 "Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil-this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart." The wealthy people I have known have the most difficulty with this. They often feel guilty enjoying the gift of God.
The Bible has a lot to say about money. Money itself isn't evil it is the love of money that is sin. Covetousness tripped up the rich young business leader. Coveting is craving what others have. I am very concerned this sin is growing in our nation as we see the movement to "tax the rich" and "redistribute wealth". We shouldn't covet what others have, we should be thankful for what God has given us. If God hasn't given you wealth maybe it is because He knows you can't handle it. Those that have been given wealth have the responsibility of a steward to give, create opportunity for others and to enjoy what God has given them.