Wealth creation isn't wrong; it helps build God's Kingdom
By Clay Perkins
Saturday, February 9, 2019
“… 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!” Matthew 25:21b (The Bible, New International Version)
What is the purpose of wealth? It is an odd question for the son of a truck driver and grandson of a share cropper to ask. Yet the question has value. I understand there is a deceptive presupposition that anyone who creates wealth is evil. This mindset comes from passages like “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” in 1 Timothy 6:10. It is true that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. But the same book presents the wealthy man as the hero in the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25:14-30. Proverbs 13:22 states that a “good man leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.” “Indeed,” says Rabbi Daniel Lapin, “the Jewish tradition views a person’s quest for profit and wealth to be inherently moral.”
Somehow many Judeo-Christians do not have such a noble view of wealth creation. Some Christians see wealth creation as inherently depraved. Perhaps that needs to change. If one considers wealth creation to be morally reprehensible, then making money and building wealth become things to be avoided rather than achieved. Many Christian endeavors would be unattainable without the wealth of contributors.
So, what is the purpose of wealth? One very materialistic view is “he who dies with the most toys wins.” But, in truth, he who does die with the most toys still dies. The “win” in wealth is not in toys. The win in wealth is found in the purpose of money. In other words, what does God want us to do with our money?
God calls on us to give tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:7-12, Proverbs 3:9-10) to the local church. One of the most worshipful things a believer ever does is give. This is a matter of the heart. This is an act of love. First we give ourselves; then with our wealth, we give willingly, liberally, cheerfully, regularly, and proportionately (1 Corinthians 9:6-7 and 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 8:5, 12; 9:7). So the win in wealth is that our giving is greater.
God will often test us with our money. Be ready (Luke 18 and 19, Joshua 7). There are many biblical examples of those who failed the test, and there are those who passed the test. How will you do? Will you excel in the grace of giving? (2 Corinthians 2:8) Have you ever seen a U-Haul behind a hearse? Why do we try to keep that which we cannot keep? The win in a biblical understanding of wealth is passing the test.
God wants us to use our wealth to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8). There is great satisfaction and joy in taking care of your immediate family and those in your church family. I doubt if anyone will ever recognize all the social welfare that is provided week after week by local houses of faith. The win in wealth is the ability to care for those you love.
Hospitality is opening your home to those you know and have deep relationships with, and those with whom you have yet to build friendship. Having people in your home is not about its being extravagant or humble; it is about using it to spread the love of Christ (Romans 12:13). Indeed, wealth allows us to practice the rich tradition of faith, family, and friends in our homes.
Wealth allows us to fund Kingdom business (1 Kings 5-7; Luke 8:1-3). I look back at the church expansions, Christian universities, schools, missionaries, pregnancy centers, homeless shelters, medical missions, children homes, etc. that I have had the joy to contribute to, and I smile. There is great contentment in being a part of the expansion of God’s Kingdom.
Money matters. Wealth in the hands of a righteous man is noble. Whether you are a one-, two-, or five-talent person (Matthew 25:14-30), I pray you will be found faithful. I pray you will show an increase. May you hear the words, “Well done. You took what I gave you and created wealth.” It is important to understand the purpose of wealth. May you reach, or even exceed, your dream of wealth that serves God’s purpose.
Dr. Clay Perkins is an adjunct professor at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. The opinions expressed in this column belong to the author and may not be those of the university.