Telling the Truth to the Rich
You cannot serve God and money (Mt 6:24; Lk 16:13); therefore, store up your treasure in heaven (Mt 6:20), for money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim 6:10). If you have two coats, give one away to one in need (Lk 3:11)…so there might be equality (2 Cor 8:13, 15). You fool! Do you not know that your soul is required of you, tonight (Lk 12:20–21)? Woe to you, rich (Lk 6:24)! Have you not heard, is it not written that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God (Mt 19:24; Mk 10:25). Remember the Pharisees were lovers of money (Jas 1:10–11; 2:56; 5:1; 1 Cor 4:8), as was the rich man in hell…(Lk 16:22–25).
I turned the pages of my Bible back and forth. I read and re-read the verses that pertained to money, possessions, and to wealthy people. I was a seller of insurance and financial investments at the time. That changed when I realized what the Bible truly said about rich people. Our luxury cars were sold, and then the house on the golf course. Our testimony includes, “We were rich and getting richer, but now we are very much poorer, having met Jesus and having followed Him.”
The Bible had the most profound effect on me. The truth convicted me like nothing else had ever done. It ruined my financial career and gave me a new calling and purpose. My new task, which has occupied me ever since that day (October 30, 1998), is to help others to take the mammon of unrighteousness and make friends for eternal habitations…treasure in heaven (Lk 16:9).
Over the past twenty-five years plus, not having much success convincing others to do what my wife, our family, and I had done, I have also listened to Christian money gurus and prosperity preachers. Both of these categories of “Christian leaders” have been filled with an endless stream of men and women encouraging others to follow them, to learn the “secrets” of Jesus blessing them with more of the world’s goods.
Not only have these people fleeced others of their money, but they have sold them a false hope of having more of the world (Ezek 34). They flaunt a power to gain riches for themselves, while peddling the Word of God for a profit. With their irredeemably seared conscience, there is no terrifying expectation of eternal punishment. These people have been given a deluding spirit to continue their reprobate ways in service to Jesus the just Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5). The goats (those who do not belong nor believe in Jesus) love these charlatan shepherds. These con artists are the blind leading the blind into the pit (Mt 15:14).
On occasion, especially if he is an expository preacher working his way through a whole book of the Bible, the earnest man of God will be confronted by a specific text, in the matter of money, possessions, or rich guys of the Bible. What will he preach? Will he tell the truth? Will he dilute the application of the text, so not to offend the wealthy members of their local congregation?
If money is anything other than a medium of exchange, it is a test of allegiance. Everything was made by God (Col 1:15; Heb 3:4; 11:10). Everything is owned by God (Ps 24:1). We come into life with nothing, and we leave with nothing (1 Tim 6:7). God is the Maker of both rich and poor (Prv 22:2). A man can have nothing unless it is given to him from heaven (Jn 3:27). There is a day set by God when everyone must give an account of everything that passed through one’s possession (Acts 17:31; 2 Tim 4:8).
The reprobate sinner is often greedy for more money and possessions to come his way. He lives oblivious to the appointed audit by Almighty God, the judge of all (Heb 12:23). He was either negligent with the warning issued by the faithful preacher, or he was never told these things you are now reading about.
The fearful preacher, in the matters of economics and finance, is a liability to the church. He must faithfully address the congregation to which he was made an overseer, appointed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28). He must confront the wealthy with biblical truth about their conundrum. “Rich Christian” is an ironic term at best. Christian, in what way are you rich? Rich in mercy? Rich in grace? Rich in generosity? These riches are acceptable because they come to us from Jesus Christ, by His indwelling Spirit. There is no woe for this type of rich man.
“Woe to you, rich” is a scathing rebuke, especially to one who names the name of Christ. What value is there in our economy with God, who supplies everything we need for life and every good work, if we are hoarding resources in fear or greed? Can God not re-supply you if you give to the poor, or invest in the kingdom in various ways? Where is sacrificial giving of time, talent, and treasure by those who will rob God by allocating some minuscule percentage of income?
Woe to you preacher if you hide the biblical truth of money and finance from the rich people in your congregation. You are entrusted with a stewardship to reach the flock entrusted to you, to be stewards of the resources God has entrusted to them. Do they know of the rich fool, the rich young ruler, the rich who did not pay their lawn boys, the wicked rich pastors (Ezek 34), or the rich man tormented in fiery hell for eternity? Woe to you, rich church goer if you have not heard that it is written, “You cannot serve God and money.”
My dear Christian reader, examine yourself in these matters of holy Scripture and the life of faith you have been called to by the Spirit of God, who assures you that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb 13:5). There is therefore no need for you to be a lover of money if you love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Do you? Are you ready for the day of accounting? Will your investments when tested by fire, survive the heavenly quality scrutiny? Or do you love the world and the things of the world more than the people and things of eternal heaven?
A warning is reserved for every preacher of the Gospel of God. The second most voluminous topical theme in the Bible is money, possessions, and the wealth of rich dudes. Have you been faithful to warn the rich people sitting in the pews of your local church? Do they know the test they have been given? Have you, dear preacher, given them enough of God’s Word to instill in them enough faith to give generously and with such joy that they have become contagious givers of all that God has entrusted to them?
My dear reader, remember who you serve. Remember the reputation of His storehouse. Remember the grace that allocates with precision. Remember your stewardship and the test of faith. Finally, remember that you are leaving this world at the appointed day and in the appointed way. In any way that you sense conviction for an increase in faith and good works, then pray that God would release you of your financial burden of hoarded resources so that you might have true riches on the day He says, “Well done, good and faithful steward/slave…enter the joy of the Lord.”
Spokane Valley, Washington
May 25, 2022