Money is important to most people because without it, we couldn’t live. We wouldn’t have food or shelter or clothing. The Bible talks about wealth in almost every single book, so if God talks about money that much, let’s see what He has to say.
Proverbs is well known as a book of wisdom, and it talks a lot about wealth:
“The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.”
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
In the book of Genesis, God blessed Abraham “abundantly, and he has become wealthy.” Isaac “planted crops … and … reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. [He] became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.”
As you can see, God is not against wealth, but He does want us to honor Him with it.
In the book of Deuteronomy God reminds His people, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
In this case, God explains that He is the one who gives His people the ability to gain wealth; it’s one of the ways He confirms His promise to them. He also warns them not to forget Him when they do gain wealth. It’s obvious that God isn’t against wealth if He wants to bless His people with it.
Money Was One of Jesus’s Favorite Topics
Jesus spoke to people using parables (stories) to help them understand the Kingdom of God. Often, Jesus told stories involving money and business because those were things people could relate to and understand.
The religion in Jesus’s day taught that having wealth meant you were favored and blessed by God, but if you were poor, you were cursed and not favored by God. This was a convenient belief if you had money, but if you did not, then too bad.
Jesus challenged this belief head on when he told the parable of The Rich Young Ruler. This story is told three times in the Bible. It goes like this:
A rich young ruler came to Jesus asking how he could inherit eternal life. He told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments, but was there something else he needed to do?
“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
Jesus went on to say that it’s hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, though not impossible. His disciples “were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’” Remember, they thought the rich were the ones who would inherit eternal life because they were favored by God. But Jesus refuted this.
Why would Jesus ask this young man to sell what he owned and give to the poor (“cursed” people)? Was Jesus against this man having wealth? Not at all. But Jesus could see that his wealth had an unhealthy hold on his heart that needed to be broken.
In the book of Luke, Jesus also challenged the religious leaders concerning money because many of them loved money:
“’No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.’ The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.’”
God wants us to be devoted to Him, not money or things. He realizes that we cannot love both Him and money. We need to value Him above all else, then we will be truly blessed.
Isn’t Money Evil?
Most people assume that in Christianity money is the root of all evil, but that isn’t quite right.
Scripture actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Just like the religious leaders, when we love money, God knows that it opens us up to “all kinds of evil.” And like a good father, He wants to protect and guide His children so that they will have a good life. Loving money won’t result in a good life.
The Bible also says, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
Having wealth is a responsibility. God calls wealthy people to put their hope in God (not their money), to share their wealth generously, and to do good deeds.
Jesus actually advocated investment. One of His parables taught about how the Kingdom of God is like a homeowner who had servants. He was going away for a long time, but before he left, he gave one servant 5 gold pieces, another 2 gold pieces and another 1 gold piece.
The two servants who had 2 and 5 gold pieces went to work and doubled their money. But out of fear, the third servant took his 1 gold piece and hid it.
When the owner returned, he said to the servants who increased their money, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
But to the third servant he said, “You wicked, lazy servant! … You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.”
It’s evident that God looks favorably on interest and investment; He wants us to take what we have and earn more. It’s not evil or wrong to increase your wealth; it’s responsible, and God sees people who do this to be faithful.
Isn’t the Church After My Money?
The truth is that the church wants you blessed as God wants you blessed. The church is involved in what God has set up as a constant check on our attitude towards money. The church challenges the believer to give in order reveal ones attitude towards God and money. God knows that when we are willing to give to His Kingdom, then we are pursuing Him, not wealth. It’s to help us keep our hearts in check.
So if that’s true, what was Jesus doing in the temple in the book of Mark?
”On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, ‘Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
So, if you always picture the quiet, humble Jesus with a lamb over his shoulders, throw that idea out. In this passage Jesus was angry – very angry. Why?
What was truly going on was corruption. When people would come to the temple and need to offer a sacrifice to God, they would buy an animal from these money changers. But the money changers were overcharging and cheating in other ways too (reusing the same animals, etc.).
This fraudulence was what Jesus objected to; He wasn’t upset about money in the church but about the dishonesty and trickery going on. And He put a stop to it.
Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” That’s what it’s about – our hearts. God wants our hearts and lives to be completely His; He doesn’t want to compete with our love for money, fame, success or anything else.
What does God think about wealth? As long as you love Him wholeheartedly and demonstrate that commitment with your wealth and life, then He has no problem entrusting you with wealth.