Is Wealth Sinful? Part 2 – by Art Lindsley
Considering the many verses in the Bible that seem to be against wealth—you may wonder if it is a sin to be wealthy.
In Pt. 1, we looked at the life of Job as an example of the “righteous rich.” He is described in Job 1:1 as “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Job 29:12-17 tells us Job cared for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. He was an advocate for justice and righteousness.
As the passage outlines, he must have helped many people. How many blind people would you have to help to call yourself “eyes to the blind”? How many lame people would you have to help to call yourself “feet to the lame”? Likewise, father to the needy?
In Job 31:16-22, Job calls judgment, condemnation, and calamity on himself if he had done these things:
If I have kept the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not shared it (but from my youth he grew up with me as a father, and from infancy I guided her), if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or that the needy had no covering…if he has not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep, if I have lifted up my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had support in the gate, let my shoulder fall from the socket, and my arm be broken off at the elbow.
Later in Job 31:24-40 Job calls similar judgment on himself if he “put my confidence in gold, and called fine gold my trust, if I have gloated because my wealth was great….[or] rejoiced at the extinction of my enemy….[or if] the alien has…lodged outside….if I have eaten [my land’s] fruit without money, or have caused its owners to lose their lives.”
Job was very rich but also very generous, not just in a general way, like giving money, but with specific tangible help.
Christopher Wright says this about Job’s riches:
He had used it generously (Job 31:16-20); he had not placed ultimate security in it (Job 31:24-25); he had put it hospitably at the service of others (Job 31:31-32); and he had not gained it through merciless exploitation of his own workers (Job 31:38-40).
Job remained wealthy despite his extreme generosity. Even after he was virtually wiped out, God granted him even greater wealth than before – two-fold.
Job was definitely in the one percent because God blessed him. Even if you are rich you can be righteous, but only if you live with similar priorities to Job.
Dear God, Help me to see your blessings in my life and to respond accordingly. Help me to have Your priorities with all I have. And help me to be generous and never forget that you are my ultimate security. Amen.
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Art Lindsley, Ph.D. is vice president of theological initiatives at IFWE and author of C.S. Lewis’s Case for Christ, True Truth, Love: The Ultimate Apologetic, and co-author with R.C. Sproul and John Gerstner of Classical Apologetics.
IFWE, www.tifwe.org, is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) Christian research organization committed to promoting biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society.