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Can you serve Jesus and be rich?


Thank you so much for your honest spiritual enquiry about money and serving Jesus.

The Word of God tells us that

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils (1 Timothy 6:10)

It is not the money itself, but the love of it that we are warned against. Money, as with any other inanimate object, has no power in and of itself, but unfortunately can become an idol in the pursuit of it.

Having said that, there is obviously a greater danger in the pursuit of money because with it comes both the power to use wealth to sin but also the power to do great good.

There is no spiritual merit in either having riches or in being poor.

The Scriptures do not specifically speak against having riches, however, they do record Jesus' conversation with the rich young ruler, who, knowing the hold that riches had on this man's heart and life told him to "sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." (Luke 18:22). The rich young ruler walked away from Jesus, hanging on to his riches and letting go of the possibility of eternal life. The Lord then commented on the sad situation saying: "How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" (Luke 18:24) Indeed, Jesus also tells us ;"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21). So, it is evident that this man’s heart was focused with riches and it was preventing him from following Christ. Often money is the bigger idol in our lives over God. We can spend almost all of our time, working, thinking about, worrying about money and very little thinking on God.

As in our day, there were believers in New Testament times who used their wealth to further the Kingdom of God, for example: Lydia, a seller of purple, greatly assisted the Apostle Paul's missionary endeavours (Acts 16:13-15). Even then, there were still times when the apostle Paul was in need and needed to learn how to do without even his most faithful supporters. Paul tells us: I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound (Philippians 4:12).

The apostle Paul also tells us: I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (Philippians 4:11). If we are living to honour Christ, and He chooses to bless us with finances, then we should be thankful and use it for His glory. However, if God chooses not to bless us in this way, then we should not become resentful. Are we content with our material state?

There are many church leaders today who promote the false teaching that if we are a child of God, we should expect God to prosper us financially, that somehow it is our right.

However, when I consider the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, I find that He not only did not promise His followers comfort and riches in this world, but rather He said "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:24); a difficult challenge for all of us. This is in direct contradiction of what is known today as the 'health, wealth and prosperity gospel'.

There are many poor Christians around the world, more than there are rich ones, and they are no less loved and cherished by God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ than those who are wealthy.

It is unbiblical to suggest that a person is not blessed by God just because they are poor. Indeed, there are many evangelical Christians who believe that Scripture reveals God's bias towards the poor.

"He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honour. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and on them he has set the world". (1 Samuel 2:8)

The Lord Jesus Himself had much to say in defence of the poor and needy. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18)

It isn't wrong to want to have money in order to feed and clothe yourself and your family; to keep a roof over your head and better your circumstances. It is good and right to want to earn an honest wage, and we should do all we can using the talents and skills that God has given us. There are many Christian business people who are blessed with being able to make substantial profits and use this to benefit God's kingdom. However, the problem comes when we believe that we deserve to have more. To pursue money for money's sake should not be our focus. In fact, we are encouraged not to worry or be anxious about our lives, but rather bring all our needs before Almighty God and then "but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

Pursue God! Then get money for the sake of His kingdom.

So in summary, do all that you can with what God has given you and be content; be wary of pursuing riches for the sake of riches; but rather seek first His kingdom and leave the rest to Him.

Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:

  • 1 Timothy 6:10
  • Matthew 6:24
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

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