Should there be Christian millionaires?

3 04 2009

Years ago I was watching a televangelist when he said something that stuck in the back my mind:

All Christians should be billionaires.

He went on to talk about prosperity from an unscriptural position, so I quit watching him.  I grow weary of certain preachers on TV who are always telling you to send them a thousand dollars so you’ll be blessed or healed.  Not all televangelists are that way, but quite a few are, unfortunately.

Because of such unbalanced teaching, I used to resent hearing preachers speak on tithes, offerings, and prosperity.  I figured they just wanted money (and for some it probably was that way).  But over the years I’ve learned what the Bible actually says about those things, and it is really important for us to give both tithes and offerings, and God does want us to prosper.   (I’m not going to debate prosperity in this post, because I want to go in a different direction; but I encourage you to read what the Bible says about it, keeping it all in context with the entire Word of God; and remember that blessings come in many forms other than money.)

In Malachi 3:10-12, God says He will “pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it”, if we are faithful with our tithe and thus honor Him.  And there are other passages talking about God blessing us and prospering us, so could there be truth to that quote above?  I’m going to go in the opposite direction you might expect — I think that no Christians should be billionaires.  Let me explain.  I don’t have a problem with God blessing someone so much that they accumulate millions or even billions of dollars — He can do that, and I suspect He wants to, if we can handle it.  But the Bible also warns us of hoarding riches, and Christians are clearly supposed to be cheerful givers.  How could someone save up billions of dollars while there are so many in the world in poverty and so many missionaries and ministries struggling to make it financially?

So far I’ve been talking about billionaires, but I’ve also applied the thought to millionaires.  On one hand, I think if we’ve saved up that much wealth, we should be giving a LOT to help those in need and to spread the Gospel around the world.   But on the other side of the argument, perhaps it is sometimes necessary for someone to accumulate a large sum of money to do a huge work, so it can be paid in full without debt.   So I won’t say there shouldn’t ever be Christian millionaires, but they should be sure God wants them to be holding on to that much money instead of giving it.

Jesus told us it’s hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God.  (See Luke 18:18-30.) He even said it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.  That may make it sound impossible, but Jesus then said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”  So it is possible, but very difficult.  Many people with great riches lose sight of what life is supposed to be about, and their life often becomes very self-centered, focusing on acquiring many material things to fill their life.  James 5:5 is part of a warning to rich people who “have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence”.  I suppose that mindset squeezes God out of their thoughts and heart.  Ideally, someone with a lot of money would use their abundant resources to impact the lives of thousands or even millions through supporting ministry.  There is a lot of ministry to be done around the world (and at home, too), but much of it requires money.

In summary, God wants to bless us and prosper us, but He also warns us of holding onto our riches.  We are stewards of what God has entrusted us with, so all our finances (along with everything else) should be submitted to Him, and we should be responsible stewards of it all, using it to further the Kingdom of God.  I should also mention that it’s not our place to judge someone’s motives, even if they are very rich.   God will judge their motives when it’s time.  So don’t go applying this discussion to someone in judgment; I posted this just to give you something to think about for your own life.

Please keep in mind that some of this post is my opinion.  You’re welcome to share your opinion in a comment if you disagree.  Likewise you can leave a comment if you agree or if you want to toss more questions into the discussion.

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2 responses

3 06 2009
Kri'

Good post – I agree with your opinions and interpretation of scripture. Money is a tricky thing… the main thing is to realize that God owns all of it, so as long as we keep that proper perspective, we will use this tool as we are supposed to.

9 07 2009
'Shell

I sometime think folks go to church too much and hide behind that – like that’s all God want – us with our bootay on a pew…

Sometime he wont us out doing something- visit ing the the sick -feeding teh hongry… tell folks about Jesus!

Just saying,
Shell

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