So You Wanna Be Rich?
Sometimes I have biases against the rich people. I have known a few of them early in my life. Maybe because I have heard some bad reports about them, like they tend to exploit their workers or servants. Or maybe because Jesus at one point has said that it is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
However, I've realized that to be rich in the things of this world is not necessarily evil. To be successful in our career or business is a great blessing from the Lord. We don't need to feel guilty when God gives us wealth. We ought to be thankful enjoying God's good gifts.
Some of God's people were wealthy. Think of Abraham and Job in the Old Testament. Barnabas (also known as Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus) was probably another wealthy saint.
Barnabas, out of love and concern for the brethren, sold some of his land and gave the proceeds to the common fund to support the needs of the new and struggling church in Jerusalem (Acts 4:36-37).
The word of God, however, has a lot to say about being wealthy. For believers who are rich or want to be rich and prosperous materially in this world, the word of God has many commands, reminders, and warnings. Here are few of them:
"Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land...When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God...Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down...then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God...(Deut. 8:6-7, 10-14).
"Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 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" (1 Tim. 6:9-10).
"Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God" (Prov. 30:8b-9).
"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. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
To be wealthy in material things in the present life is something that we can be grateful of and truly rejoice in. However, with much wealth also comes great burden and greater tendency for anxiety.
The apostle Paul even said that some men, "eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Tim. 6:10). So be forewarned.