There is a pre-conception that Christians are not supposed to be rich. Our culture believes that we are not honoring God unless we give everything away and live in poverty.
We live like Kings
First of all, if that were true then most Americans would not be following God’s principles. We are the richest nation on this planet and have access to luxuries that most would call necessities: Electricity, plumbing, grocery stores and automobiles. For example: I was eating some really juicy blueberries the other day. It’s January. Where do I get fresh blueberries in the middle of winter? The grocery store. We have access to food fit for kings in 46,000 square feet facilities with freezers, bakeries, produce sections, and isles of wine and sodas. So we are all rich when compared to most of the world’s population.
Second, having nothing is not Godly
If giving everything away and having nothing was Godly then those who have absolutely no possessions would be more Godly than we are. Their receiving of our gifts would make them less poor, and less Godly? So the statement about giving everything away and living in poverty is ridiculous.
Third, it’s not just about money
Giving is not just about money. Along with a tithe God asks us to help our fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ which could simply be raking the leaves of an old lady’s house or changing the oil in a single mom’s car. It could be babysitting for another couple or having them over for a Bible study. Giving of your time has value as well.
It’s not ours anyway
Psalm 50:10 – “For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills”. (By the way, he owns the hills too). None of this stuff was ours to start with. He gave us our bodies to do things with, the brains to control our bodies and ideas, and the talents to put those things together to do things for others will reward us for (usually with money). It’s not our money, so we probably should manage it well.
Take care of Family first
Even the Bible tells us that we have to take care of our family first. 1 Timothy 5:8 says “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”. Wow. The Bible says we are not believers if we don’t provide for our family. That doesn’t mean new iPods each year, but it does put a priority on how we use His money.
We are taught to use our talents to make money
My favorite story Jesus told is the Parable of the Talents (or Parable of the Three Servants). It is a story of a man who was going on a long trip and left talents (money) to three servants. Two servants took the money and used it to invest, build, and grow businesses which resulted in them returning twice the original amount to their master. The third servant did nothing with the money and returned the original amount to his master. The first two servants were rewarded and the third was called lazy and fired him (that’s my polite translation which is much less severe than the original Biblical text).
Neither giving it all away or keeping it all to ourselves is Godly. We are called to work, save, and give which is both scriptural and spiritual. Margaret Thatcher has a great quote about having money to give: “No-one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well”. What are the intentions of your money?