Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is Being Rich Evil?

I Was Broke And Now I'm Not has been different from any other small group study we've ever done at Oceanside. I Was Broke And Now I'm Not is a study on the Biblical management of money. The study talks about getting out of debt, budgeting, and investing our God's money. It has fostered great discussion every week.

This week's discussion was most interesting because we debated if being rich is sinful. That conversation is more relevant than ever as we recently watched the Wall Street protestors demonize the wealthy. So I offer to you my opinion on rich people.

You Are Rich-
Yeah, I bet you don't believe it, but if you live in the U.S. you are a part of the worldwide 1%. Even if you're poor you're wealthy. On average the United State's poor have a car, an air conditioned house, and two Televisions. But that's not all! Most families have an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 and even cable/satellite TV. That's not what I think of when I think of poor people. I think of the single father in Afghanistan, whose wife has died, lives in a stone house, and hopes to feed his family once a day. The poor discussion becomes more difficult when we become the same evil we're rebuking.

Being Rich is Difficult-
You may be asking, "If I'm rich what does that make Bill Gates?" I don't know... maybe filthy rich. But let's not get distracted. You may not be filthy rich, but you're still rich. Being rich has it's advantages, but it comes with many spiritual difficulties. Jesus said in Luke 18:25, For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Immediately that creates a problem for us rich people. Money has a tendency to destroy people spiritually. I believe that money can let us think we have it all under control. It gives us a false sense of security. Because no amount of money can give us eternal security.

Have you ever noticed that when we're financially cruising and the bills are getting payed we don't go to God as much anymore. But when the bills are overdue, the house is about to be taken, and we're not sure how we're going to pay for next week's groceries we start calling the Big Man Upstairs every time we walk to the mailbox. If we let it financial security can lead to a pride that says, "I can do it on my own."

Greed is Wrong-
So is being rich evil? It can be. But the issue isn't an amount of money. The issue is greed. The Bible is very clear that greed is wrong. Jesus warned us in Luke 12:15, Protect [ourselves] against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot. Rich people that a greedy are evil. Poor people that are greedy are evil. The issue isn't how rich or poor someone is. The issue is what we do with the money God has given us.

People with lots of money have the ability to give lots of money. God uses rich people to accomplish great things. Being rich isn't evil. Being rich is an opportunity to make a great difference in the world.

What do you think? Is being rich evil?