The economic stress of the last decade or two has taken a toll on us all. Everyone suffered losses in the last ten years. As the gap widens between rich and poor, resentment and anger mount toward those with money.
That resentment in the Christian world draws on Jesus’ intense imagery as he warned against materialism and greed. How does his metaphor of a camel squeezing through the eye of a needle (Mark 10:25) not stick in your mind? It really is hard for the super wealthy to make it into the kingdom of heaven. The upshot is that there seems to be a dark moral cloud over businesses that try to make a profit or over people who seek to build their family’s assets.
Greed and materialism do indeed corrode people’s insides. But it is still very possible for Christians to honor God as they seek to make money and not spend it all (a.k.a. building wealth). The book of Proverbs gives God’s blessing on hard work, thrift, discipline, and a servant spirit. When God is in the middle of our asset-building labors, the process stays healthy and he blesses it: “Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).
Other verses of Scripture reveal how tenderly God cares for the poor. But that does not make poverty a desirable destination. It is better to accumulate a surplus so that you can help other people and honor the Giver with your generous gifts.