Rich Christians

Nathan at ThinkChristian asks: True or False? Christians shouldn’t make six figures. He claims that “most of” the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day (though link he sites says “nearly half of.”

I think he makes a good point. Rich Christians bear the burden of proof when the bible so clearly calls the wealthy to concern.  Remember what Jesus said about how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom?  By global standards, a solid 70% of Americans are wealthy….

On the other hand, I think the point isn’t strictly a matter of income, but participation in stewardship of all that God has given us charge over.  Much is expected (by God) of those to whom much has been given.

What do you think?

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10 thoughts on “Rich Christians

  1. We had a group of students from Uganda visiting last spring. I spent a lot of time with them over the 3 days we were there… one of the questions that I asked one of the older students was do you ever ask, “why does God allow you to live in such conditions back in Uganda.” As we were driving through our clean, neat, organized and obviously very wealthy community he responded back, “why does God allow you to live in conditions like this” pointing out the window…

    We are literally the 2nd wealthiest county (Collin County) in the United States according to 2006 statistics. This is a very real issue in our community.

    Are we to be wealthy? If it’s for God’s purpose and use – yes. If it’s for status, keeping up with the Joneses, and imagery (which all equal idol worship) then I would have to adamantly say – no.

  2. It might be worth noting that after Jesus makes his famous declaration about camels and the eye of a needle, the very next thing he says is, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I read all those verses as a lesson in the need for faith in God’s grace as much or more than strictly an admonition about money.

  3. Read, “Rich Christians in an age of Hunger” That might be where that statistic comes from… 1.2B live on less than $1, 1.6B less than $2… I think that’s accurate from that book.

  4. I don’t think the burden of proof is on the “rich” Christian. Why is it we never see anyone ask about if it’s sinful to be too poor? Does the wealthier Christian have more opportunity to bless others? Certainly in some ways. Isn’t that a part of the point of “To those whom much has been given, much is expected” (paraphrase) Sometimes the knee-jerk reaction that poor is good, wealth is bad really irritates me. It’s the person’s heart and walk with Christ that is the concern, not what is in her/his pocket.

    • Excellent point which is why there’s something in there about heart and treasure.

      Christ didn’t separate our walk with others from our walk with him. In fact, he made direct correlation between the two when he said actions done to the least of these are done to him.

    • Brian,
      Quite possibly what is in his or her pocket determines what’s in the heart. No one implies that poor is “good”, however, as Ecc. 4v4a states…”Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy thier neighbors…”. It’s safe to assume that most of Evangelical Christianity today equates Jesus with free market captialism–As a matter of fact, while I’ve yet to see the wealthy “bless” many, I’ve seen the needy ignored within the walls of the “successful” church. It’s hardly a “knee-jerk’ reaction to believe there is to be a desparity between the Faith and money. To believe that its OK to be wealthy is to ignore plain scripture in the Gospels, James, Eccles., Proverbs as well as Deuteronomy. Speaking of Deuteronomy, God warned the Israelites against riches because it would cause them to be proud. Somehow, it’s become “God’s will” to own a Lexus, a million dollar home, private schools and the like…

  5. It’s interesting that when asked what he wanted, Solomon requested ‘wisdom’. Yet God blessed him with, not only wisdom, but riches. (Ps. 139:23-24) These are salient & contemplative words. The Bible clearly does not teach an ascetic lifestyle; however, I do see scripture emphasizing ‘less is more’, so-to-speak. What God decides to bless His children with is certainly His business. The point earlier about stewardship is perhaps most accurate. For if we are blessed with means, we better mean well with our giving. Out of obedience to God’s word, not to keep what we’ve been blessed with. For all things are God’s, “…even the cattle on a thousand hills.” Additionally, God uses very wealthy men in the Bible to make tremendous points: Job, Abraham, Solomon, et al. I Timothy warns us about loving money, etc. But the PURSUIT of money is one of the most dangerous things a Christian can be entangled with. It sets up a life which is shallow & idolatrous.

  6. I often wonder if the interpertation you put on this mandate from Jesus, is just not a bourgeois spin on the matter.

    I not only feel guilty for the amount of money I make and take home, I feel I am forsaking the call of Jesus. This is not a popular stance with my family and it creates tension. But that is my internal struggle.

  7. Only in America is it OK to have plenty while others sleep under a bridge…and feel good about it! Only in America are the poor considered “lazy”. Only in America are brothers and sisters in the Lord ignored because they don’t have enough “faith”. Only in America do many Christians consider the words of Rush Limbaugh “inspired text”.

  8. Why did God stop the wealthy Pharisee persecuting the poor primitive Christians? He wanted to make him His apostle. Why did Jesus ask Zacchaeus to dinner . . . not because Zacchaeus renounced wealth, but because Jesus came to save the lost. While Zacchaeus probably had a lifestyle more akin to Bernie Madoff than what we typically think of, Jesus had mercy on him because he was in need of mercy and as such is one of humble position.

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