DEVOTIONAL READING

Can you be rich and be a Christian?

Everyone, it seems, wants to be rich. Can a
Christian be rich and still be a real Christian?
After all, Jesus was poor. The Apostles were
poor. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell
all that he had and give to the poor. Not
unreasonably, many people in Cyprus believe
that a person cannot be both Christian and
rich. So, while nearly all Greeks think of
themselves as Christian, they are also afraid
of being real Christians, because no one
wants to be poor.
The Bible deals a lot with riches. The ideal in
Proverbs is a middle amount of wealth. “Give
me neither poverty nor riches – Feed me with
the food you prescribe for me; lest I be full
and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or
lest I be poor and steal, and profane the
name of my God (Proverbs 30:8-9).” The
Apostle Paul wrote that he had learned how
to be content with both poverty and
abundance. “I know how to get along with
humble means, and I also know how to live
in prosperity. I have learned the secret both
of being filled and going hungry, both of
having abundance and suffering need. I can
do all things through Him who strengthens
me (Philippians 4:12-13).” Jesus had rich
friends who helped support Him (see Luke
8:3). He did not tell them to give all their
money away and be poor.
Wealth, according to the Bible, is like fire,
good but dangerous. Everyone sees the good,
so the Bible warns us about the danger.
Danger one: the desire to get rich (I Timothy
6:10). Danger two: worry about money
(Matthew 6:25-34). Danger three: trusting in
wealth rather than God (Luke 12:16-21).
Danger four: loving money as your god, when
no man can actually serve two masters
(Matthew 6:24). Danger five: using your
money to oppress other people (James 2:6,
Isaiah 3:15, Amos 2:6-7). Wise men fear the
temptations that wealth brings.
The ideal rich man in the Bible is Job. He
never loved his wealth more than God. He
used it freely to help others (Job 31). But
when he lost it all in one day, he still revered
God. And after Job had proven his love for
God, God made him rich again. So a man can
be rich and love God. One can be a real
Christian and be rich. But it is not easy, the
Bible says, and experience confirms it. Jesus
knew that the rich young ruler would not obey
the most important thing he told him – “and
come, follow me” – if he kept his wealth.
The goal of getting rich is a foolish goal. You
can’t take it with you (I Timothy 6:7). No one
needs to have millions of euros. A wise man
prays for his daily bread. “And if we have
food and covering, with these we shall be
content (I Timothy 6:8).” A man can be rich
and be one of God’s people. Abraham was a
rich man. But a man cannot have a life goal
of getting rich and be a Christian. The
greatest goal the Creator gives to man is to
glorify God and enjoy Him forever. It is not to
get rich. One can indeed be rich and be a
Christian, but one cannot worship God and
Mammon (money). Seek first the kingdom of
God and his righteousness, and do not worry
what else gets added to you in this life,
whether much or little. The reward that
Christians seek is eternal life, the infinite and
certain reward for all who believe in Jesus
and obey Him as King.

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