Some people can't handle wealth


January 22, 2016

Dear Pastor,

I generally sympathise with the poor. However, based on my experience, the reason some poor people are humble is because they are poor. If they were rich they would not be humble. I know people who were poor, came into money, became pompous and show- off. They flaunt their wealth on others in the position they were once in. Can you believe that?


Dear K.K.,

Wealth can be a blessing to some people and a curse to others. Some people can handle wealth and remain humble. Others, as you say, show off on others and blow their money. People argue unnecessarily about money. I recently read an article the argument made was not totally biblical.

Too often the impression is given that it is sinful to be wealthy, people should only think of heaven. Unfortunately, some folk preach the so-called prosperity gospel. The gospel has nothing to do with money. The gospel is about Jesus Christ coming into the world to save sinners. His mission was to redeem sinners. He came and gave his life for the salvation of man. He was buried and rose again. All who embraced him as their saviour will inherit eternal life. That, in a nutshell, is the gospel.

There is nothing in the bible that discourages Christians from becoming wealthy. There are warnings that one should not put heart, mind and soul on money, but instead rely on Christ to meet needs.

However, the bible gives examples of men and women who were wealthy - Abraham, Job and Solomon. Abraham is described as "very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold" (Gen. 13:2). Job was a man of great wealth and Solomon was granted riches and honour unparalleled among the kings of his day (1 Ki. 3:13). Proverbs tells us that "the blessing of the Lord brings wealth" (10:22), and describes a simple work ethic: "A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich" (10:4).

"Of course, the Old Testament is not without its warnings about wealth. We must not forget the source of our wealth: "Remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth" (Deut. 8:18). We must not put ultimate trust in them. The Psalmist says that God will bring to ultimate destruction "the man who did not make God his stronghold but trusted in his great wealth" (Ps. 52:7).

The possession of wealth comes with the obligation to care for the needy: "He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord" (Prov. 19:17).

I must add that the bible exhorts Christians to save and invest for their senior years. That is clearly taught in the bible. The ant was used as an example of what men and women should do to store up wealth for the winter years. Jesus taught that one should use money to earn interest and trade.

One does not need to brag about being poor, giving the impression that to be poor is a blessing. What blessing can it be if a man or woman cannot find money to buy food, pay mortgage or rent. The nonsense I hear from the lips of some preachers and so-called Christian people is troubling. Perhaps one of the reason why some young people reject certain churches and turn their backs on Christianity, as a whole, is because they are been taught that it is wrong to have wealth.

Lots of poor people are proud and lots of wealthy people are humble. Imagine that!


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