Hey gang! Here is a blog entry from RC Sproul, a remarkable theologian, author and pastor. In it, he tackles an important subject: whether it’s a sin to be wealthy, or not. This is a very important question to have answered, particularly if your goal is to achieve financial freedom through building a business. RC does a remarkable job breaking this issue down and helping us understand what God intends for us in regards to wealth.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2015
No. One can certainly get wealthy by sinning. One can certainly sin while being wealthy. But it is surely not a sin to be wealthy. Though few would be so crass as to express such a sentiment, it nevertheless often reveals itself, ironically among the wealthy. Wealth, remember, is a relative term. Most of us like to think of ourselves as somewhere safely in the middle. But I suspect 99% of you reading this are, in terms of wealth, in the 1% of the wealthiest humans to ever walk on this planet.
Wealth, like wine, is a blessing from God that can be misused, that can bring with it a bevy of temptations peculiar to it. One temptation common to many of God’s blessings is that we forget they are God’s blessings. That is, we lose sight of the giver of the gift in loving the gift. Every good gift, however, should be seen as a window through which we behold the grace and the beauty of the Giver. Wealth has this added danger- it can encourage us to lose sight of our dependence of God.
Which brings us to how to rightly respond to the gift of wealth. First, give thanks, knowing that it comes from the hand of God. Were we better able to recognize that we are all in the 1% we would begin to push back against the envy that crushes gratitude. We see wealth as wicked because we think it’s something other people have that we don’t. But to 99% of those who ever lived, we are the other people.
Second, recognize that we are but stewards of what God has given us. Better yet, recognize that you are the steward of what God has given you, and I am the steward of what God has given me. Sometimes we use the truth that we are stewards of what is God’s as a pretext to judge how others handle what God has given them. We think this one shouldn’t have such a big house but should be financing missions, and that one shouldn’t have such fine clothes but should be supporting the local soup kitchen. We pride ourselves into thinking we could steward the money God gave the other guy to care for than he does.
We can debate on the requirements God makes of His stewards, whether the tithe is still binding, to whom it should go, gross or net. What we must not do is add to God’s requirements. Nor subtract from them. That is, not only is it not a sin to enjoy the wealth God has given you, it is likely a sin to not enjoy it. God commands His people in Deuteronomy 14:26- “And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.”
Which means the key is gratitude, not how much or how little we have been given to steward. We need not repent of our wealth. We likely need to repent for our failure to recognize it, and give thanks to the Giver. Wealth is no more proof of greed than poverty is proof of laziness. Work hard. Remember your dependence. Give thanks. And enjoy.