What The Bible Demands of Rich Christians

wealthyBefore you decide this post doesn’t apply to you consider what follows.

If your annual take-home pay is $30,000, you are in the top 1% in terms of income in the world.

In other words, you are rich.

If this news doesn’t thrill you, it’s probably because you live in one of the wealthier countries in the world, which doesn’t mean you are not rich; it only means you may not feel rich because you are surrounded by people who are richer.

If you live in the United States of America and you earn $200,000/year you are in the top 5% in terms of income in the country. Even by American standards, you are rich.

If you are a rich Christian, the Bible has three commands for you. Those commands came from a man who grew up rich and was likely quite wealthy as an adult, at least until he decided to leave all that to serve Jesus. So, he knew the temptations, special sins and proclivities of the rich. His name was Paul of Tarsus.

Paul wrote a letter to a disciple of his named Timothy, and in that letter he instructed Timothy what to tell the rich people in his church. Paul gave Timothy three specific commands for the rich.

1.  Don’t be arrogant. (I Tim. 6:17). Arrogance is the biggest temptation that comes with wealth. The temptation for those with money is to believe they are better than others because they earn more or have more, or even worse, that God loves them more than others because He has blessed them financially. The arrogance of the wealthy is obvious among non-Christians. In the Church it is more subtle.

2.  Perform good deeds. (I Tim. 6:18a). Performing good deeds is a hedge  against arrogance because it is a constant reminder that one should regard others as more important than oneself. I suspect that is why Paul followed the warning against arrogance with this admonition.

3.  Be generous. (I Tim 6:18b). If Arrogance is the biggest temptation that comes with wealth, greed runs a close second. Giving is the best hedge against greed. The tithe is an inoculation against avarice. If you are rich you should start from the presumption that God has blessed you financially because he wants to bless others through you.

Wealth can be a great blessing when coupled with righteousness and humility. Without them it can be a curse. GS