The Church and the Wealthy

The church has been tough on the rich. We have loved preaching texts about the Eye of the Camel and the Rich Man and Lazarus. We hang onto passages where the rich are the bad guys.

Certainly there are warnings for the rich. Having wealth can make you self-reliant and make it harder to humble yourself before God. Wealth can be earned at the expense of others or used to abuse others. The prophets rail against this.


But we need some better perspective. I Timothy 6:10 says that the love of money is the root of all evil. It does not say that money is evil. Proverbs shares a lot of principles for money. Sometimes the wealthy person was the good guy in the parables. The father in the Prodigal Son had lots of wealth. The Good Samaritan had to be people of means to spend the way he does on this hurt man. The Vineyard Owner in the Parable of the Vineyard had to be wealthy to pay even the later workers a full day’s wages.

Jesus’ ministry was supported by some wealthy people. Lazarus and his family had a home big enough to host Jesus and his disciples often. Martha could cook for the whole group. Joseph of Arimathia gives Jesus a tomb.

Wealth may have challenges for Christians but it also has opportunities. Ministries need funding. The poor need help. Sometimes people are given gifts by God to be fruitful with money so that they can also be generous.

In ministry we love to be with the poor. We love to do ministry to people where they are. But we don’t think this way if people are wealthy. We want their checks, but do we shepherd their hearts toward generosity? Do we give them opportunities to give to things they feel are important? Do we only invite them to serve by giving money?

Today our churches are struggling financially. Perhaps part of the problem is they have not cared for those with financial means as we should have. We have made them feel guilty for God’s blessing to them and God’s calling for them instead of encouraging and supporting it.


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