The biblical frame of reference for wealth is that God is the source of all gain. Each year various publications list the one hundred wealthiest persons in America. They are categorized by total income, usually in the range of billions and millions. Such is the predominant viewpoint of our age regarding the meaning of wealth.
But is that the way God defines wealth? I think not. Many of the individuals who are included in one year’s ranking are excluded from the next, their wealth having been dissipated through a variety of causes. Some are even forced into bankruptcy. “Do not overwork to be rich; . . . will you set your eyes on that which is not?” (Proverbs 23:4, 5).
Still others lead rather checkered lives marked by greed, divorce, or immorality. “Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice” (Proverbs 16:8).
However, God is not opposed to personal monetary wealth. Many prominent Bible characters were quite well-to-do, including Abraham, Job, Joseph, and Solomon. But God is concerned that we view riches from His perspective.
How God Defines Wealth
Wealth from God’s standpoint is not limited to currency. Rich men and women are often miserable. Their bank accounts may be overflowing but their souls are impoverished. Biblical wealth may be defined as the ability to experience and enjoy God’s blessings. The poor individual who knows God as Savior has indescribable wealth compared to the rich one who rejects Him. Friendship, godly wisdom, and a happy home are invaluable.
The biblical frame of reference for wealth is that God is the source of all gain. “Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all” (1 Chronicles 29:12).
God Is Our Sole Source of Blessing
Apart from the benevolence of God, we are unable to amass wealth. While our labor, diligence, planning and wisdom are vital, God remains the sole source of blessing. He is the fountainhead of life, health, food, sun, and all other necessary elements for prosperity. As Creator, all of life is His gift. He is the Prime Giver. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).
As God prepared to take the Israelites into fertile and fruitful Canaan, His fundamental concern was that they should not forget the source of their new-found affluence: “Then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17, 18).
We Are Caretakers of God’s Assets
Since all wealth flows from the loving provision of God, our role is to be sensible, faithful stewards. God gives it all and God owns it all. He designates us as caretakers of His assets. Our spending and investments then become extensions of His will. Following the careful guidelines of Scripture, we can wisely manage God’s riches. That is a staggering privilege and responsibility. What matters is not how much we possess, but how we use what we are entrusted with.
The biblically wealthy individual may be rich or poor according to the world’s standards. Regardless, he or she knows that wealth is not measured by dollars. God is the source of all riches, and we are called to the noble task of managing God’s gracious gifts.
- For further insights, read the following passages:
- Psalm 37:16-17
- Ecclesiastes 5:19
- Jeremiah 9:23-24
- Romans 11:36