WHY CHRISTIANS SHOULDN’T BE RICH

2015-06-30 15:22

To give away?

Bill and Melinda Gates, Patrice Motsepe and Warren Buffett, some of the top rich people in the world have given away billions during their life time. Buffett in an acceptance speech for a United Nations humanitarian award said. “I am very grateful for this award, I accept this award. But I’d like to accept it not only for myself but for those millions of people who really give away money that’s important to them because they see somebody else where they think they can do more good.”

Lately we have seen the rise of the “name it and claim” theology across the African continent. It encourages you to name whatever amount of money or possession you desire, sow a seed (money obviously) and then watch as God provides for you. Well, this is only partially true. In Africa this false-theology has created a new breed of selfish Christians, Prophets and Pastors, a tribe which operates within the unholy trinity - me, myself and I. No wonder the church is becoming socially irrelevant daily.

Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not against having enough to buy a house, a car, nice clothes, a holiday, children's school fees, etc, or any other material possession providing the necessary momentary comfort. I am also not saying you must be poor, broke and begging. So why shouldn’t Christians be rich if God, the Father owns cattle on a thousand hills; when God’s favour is on them and ever ready to fulfil His promise? Why shouldn’t Christians be rich when God wants to show unbelievers that He is God who prospers all things, and all people?

I will describe being rich as having “excess”, living beyond modesty. So in this context, a Christian being rich is like a Christian who overeats, or a Christian who watches too much television. Like Gates, Motsepe and Buffet though, I don’t have a problem if you have billions, millions or hundreds of thousands but still give billions, millions or hundreds of thousands away. That’s the Christian way of being rich.

Like everything else in life not everyone has the grace for monetary riches. Lately there has been an obsession for money and material possessions - a new focus for so many Christians. It has become an addiction, and Jesus came to set us free from this upward trend of greed, self-centeredness, the love of money and any other acquisition likely to keep us in bondage to this life.

I wonder why we all want to accumulate money and the love of it when the bible has declared it (the love of money), the root of all evil. When it comes to money and material possession, the main theme across the bible is the encouragement it gives us not to hoard, while others have no food, shelter, healthcare, clothes, or even children's school fees etc. It sounds like the South Africa we are living in today right? The early Christians went so far as calling anyone who had more whilst those around them sink in poverty, a thief!

One of the most important commandments in the bible is “Love thy neighbour as yourself". Now if we love our neighbour as ourselves it will decide for us how we view and spend our money and possessions; what we deem enough to hold on to, and what we do with it, knowing that there are social needs all around us. The early church in the book of Acts in the bible had no needy people among them because they shared everything they had equally amongst themselves, an indication of the effect of Pentacost, the day the church was birthed. They shared everything they had.

God desires that we see money like He does - a means to an end and not the end of our means. When we have more than our household requires, that right there, is a clear indication that we ought to give. Giving requires our active participation, ie. that we determine to go out and search for needs, search for people and build houses for them, search for communities we can build hospitals in, search for children we can sent to school. Money is only a tool for serving God. No matter how much money we may have, we remain 'poor' if we become slaves to money. As English Philosopher, Francis Bacon said: "money makes a good servant, but a terrible master..."

The best way to be happy and fulfilled in life is to give away the “excess”. Don’t live in guilt, live in freedom knowing that you are a change agent.

British theologian John Wesley said "If I have money in my hands, I get rid of it quickly lest it make its way into my heart.”

Go ahead, change the world!

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