Does Jesus Want You to be Rich?

An incorrect belief in Jewish culture in Jesus’ time was the assumption that you aren’t blessed by God unless you’re materially blessed. We buy into this false belief today, too. If we go through any kind of financial struggle, we wonder if it’s because God isn’t happy with us. If we lose our job or our car breaks down or there’s an emergency medical procedure, we think we must be doing something wrong. But is this the correct view? Does Jesus want you to be rich?

Danger of Wealth

The Bible mentions many dangers of wealth and warns the rich of specific temptations that will come their way, including greed, hoarding, and straying from the faith (1 Tim. 6:6-10). Being rich isn’t necessarily a sign of God’s favor. In fact, wealth can lead to self-sufficiency, where you’re blind to your own sinfulness and need for God. This is what Jesus meant when he told his disciples, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19.24).

Why is it so hard for the rich to be saved? Because the Gospel is only for those who see their own neediness, their own spiritual poverty. Only when you recognize your own sin and wretchedness can you receive his grace.[1]

What You Loves Drives Your Life

Another danger of being rich is that what you love determines the trajectory you’re currently on. In the Bible, it’s clear that Jesus is more interested in what you love than what you have. What you love drives your life, your routine, your relationships, your career.

Do you love money? If so, it’s driving the course of your life. The apostle John is clear with his words on this very topic: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). If you’re rich, will you reach the end of your life with an overflowing bank account but an empty soul? Or will you have a full, joyful heart because you’ve given so much away and seen God provide for you again and again so that you were able to give even more? That’s the testimony I want to have.

Call to Generosity

Our desire to be rich is not from God. It’s from the world that is passing away (1 John 1:17). God isn’t impressed with what you’ve accomplished, how big your house is, or what car you drive. No, he’s more impressed when—out of your love for Christ—you let wealth pass through you for his glory, not store it up for your own comfort or even package it up as an inheritance for your children and grandchildren.

The world wants you to buy into the lie that being rich is all that matters. But God’s eye is on what’s eternal. It’s freeing to be so satisfied in him that you’re free from the lie that more is going to do it for you, more is going to be enough. It never is. How do you get to this place of contentment? Make Christ your true treasure, not wealth.

Ultimately, God doesn’t want you to seek riches but to seek his richness. God does want you to be rich—that is, rich in Christ, rich in knowledge of him, rich in the Gospel. I can personally testify that it’s far more fulfilling than pursuing wealth.

This doesn’t mean it’s a sin to be rich. The Bible contains a long list of wealthy godly people: Job, Abraham, Solomon (worth an estimated $2 trillion in today’s currency), Joseph of Arimathea, Cornelius the Centurion, Lydia, Philemon, and the list goes on. These people of great wealth were also great in faith and obedience to the Lord. If you’re working hard using the skills God has given you and wealth comes to you as a result, it’s not a sin. Just be successful to the glory of God and be aware of the temptation to hoard instead of give.

The only way to be free from the love of money is to give it away. What more do you think God could do with you, in you, and for you if you dialed up your generosity? No matter how much you make or what your net worth is, step out in faith and then step back and see what God does.

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