As we head into an election cycle in the States, the battle between the rich and poor gets pushed to the forefront of cultural conversation. Those on the political right tend to see wealth as something earned by decent people. Those on the political left tend to see wealth as something stolen by greedy people.
As a Christian, we need to think biblically and not culturally. Biblically, especially throughout Proverbs, which is about wisdom, there are not two kinds of people (rich and poor), but rather four kinds of people (ungodly poor, godly poor, ungodly rich, godly rich). Today, we will study the two kinds of rich people.
3. The ungodly rich. These people love money more than God. So, they use people to make more money rather than using money to love more people. Throughout Proverbs these people are referred to as “the rich”, “ruthless men”, “the wicked”, and the “greedy”. Proverbs 10:2 warns the ungodly rich saying, “Ill-gotten treasures are of no value, but righteousness delivers from death”. Proverbs 23:4 says, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.” Proverbs 28:8 warns, “He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.”
4. The godly rich. These people love God and God entrusts to them wealth because they are good stewards. In Proverbs, these people are called “the righteous”, “generous”, and those who “honor the Lord”. Proverbs 15:6 says, “The house of the righteous contains great treasure…” Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.” Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” And, Proverbs 3:9-10 teaches, “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
The issue is not whether you, or anyone else, is rich or poor. The issue is whether or not you, or anyone else, is godly with the resources God has entrusted to you. The example for this is Jesus Christ who was godly and rich in heaven, godly and poor on earth, and is today godly and rich in heaven.
Which of the four categories best describes you?