“‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth’” (Matthew 6:19).
Wealth comes from God, and we are to manage it wisely for Him.
John Wesley was a godly man who devoted his life to serving the Lord. What is not as well known perhaps is that he was rich, gaining most of his wealth from his published hymns and other works. At one point in his life he gave away 40,000 pounds sterling—a fortune in those days. When he died, his estate was worth only twenty-eight pounds, for he had given nearly everything to the Lord’s work.
It is not wrong for Wesley, or any other believer, to own possessions or be wealthy. Both the Old and New Testaments recognize the right to material possessions, including money, land, animals, houses, clothing, and every other thing that is honestly acquired. Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “It is [God] who is giving you power to make wealth.” God gives us the abilities and resources to obtain wealth. Job, known mostly for his suffering, was a wealthy man. Theologian Gleason Archer wrote, “Job was reputed to be the richest man of his time in all the region. . . . He was the largest stockholder on Wall Street, so to speak. Thus it could be said that this godly man had proved to be a good businessman, a fine citizen, and a father of a large family. As such he enjoyed the highest standing of any man in his community.” In 1 Corinthians 4:7 the apostle Paul asks, “What do you have that you did not receive?” The implication is that we receive everything, including our material possessions, from God.
You are right to provide for your family, make reasonable plans for the future, make sound investments, have money to carry on a business, give to the poor, and support the Lord’s work. But you are wrong if you are dishonest, greedy, covetous, stingy, and miserly about possessions. To honestly earn, save, and give is wise; to hoard and spend only on yourself is unwise and sinful.
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank the Lord for providing for your temporal needs.
For Further Study
Read 1 Timothy 6:17.
- What are the rich instructed not to do?
- What does God richly supply you with? Why?