Is Wealth Sinful? Part 1 – by Art Lindsley
Working as a lawyer can be incredibly profitable. You may earn more than enough to satisfy your basic needs, leaving you wondering what to do with the rest. Considering the many verses in the Bible that seem to be against wealth—“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (I Timothy 6:10)—you may also wonder if it is a sin to be wealthy.
The Bible condemns wealthy people many times, but these people are in a category you could call the “unrighteous rich.” They stewarded their wealth poorly. In contrast, there is also a category of wealthy people in Scripture that could be described as the “righteous rich.” What characterizes the “righteous” in the righteous rich?
A standout example of the righteous rich is Job. He is described in Job 1:1 as “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.”
How was Job able to live up to the words “righteous rich” so closely?
Job 29 and 31 hint at Job’s righteousness. The passage describes how people were in awe of Job whenever he went out in public. They were in awe because of how Job treated the poor. Job 29:7-10 says:
When I went out to the gate of the city, when I took my seat in the square; the young men saw me and hid themselves, and the old men arose and stood. The princes stopped talking and put their hands on their mouths; the voice of the nobles was hushed, and their tongue stuck to their palate. For when the ear heard, it called me blessed; and when the eye saw, it gave witness of me.
What exactly did people hear and see that allowed them to be in awe of Job and call him blessed? Job 29:12-17 tells us:
Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I investigated the case which I did not know. And I broke the jaws of the wicked, and snatched the prey from his teeth.
Job cared for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. He was an advocate for justice and righteousness. Can the same be said for our priorities? It is these priorities that caused CLS to begin doing Christian Legal Aid. Where is God calling you to invest?
Dear God, Thank you for your servant Job and the example he is to all of us who seek to follow you. Thank you for the blessings in my life. I pray that I will be faithful and obedient with all you have given me to steward in this life. Amen.
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Art Lindsley, Ph.D. is vice president of theological initiatives at IFWE and author of C.S. Lewis’s Case for Christ, True Truth, Love: The Ultimate Apologetic, and co-author with R.C. Sproul and John Gerstner of Classical Apologetics.
IFWE, www.tifwe.org, is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) Christian research organization committed to promoting biblical and economic principles that help individuals find fulfillment in their work and contribute to a free and flourishing society.