The Desire for Wealth: A Christian Perspective

As followers of Christ, we find ourselves living in a world that constantly glorifies wealth and material prosperity. Billboards, advertisements, social media influencers — everywhere we turn, we’re fed the notion that happiness, success, and security are tied to our bank accounts.

From affording necessities, saving for retirement, and funding our children’s education, to supporting charitable causes, it’s natural to want more money. But when we notice an insatiable thirst for wealth, it’s crucial to reflect on our motivations. Are we attempting to fill an emotional void? Striving to outdo our peers? Or merely aiming for a better life for ourselves and our loved ones?

The question arises: Is it sinful to desire riches?

Throughout Church teachings, we encounter a range of views on wealth and blessings, creating a maze of beliefs that can often feel contradictory. Some advocate that God desires us to be materially wealthy, and any suffering is a sign of spiritual misalignment. Conversely, others argue that wealth is inherently evil, and our earthly existence guarantees nothing but trials.

So, as we navigate these diverse perspectives, each backed by scriptural references, how do we understand God’s will concerning prosperity and wealth?

Here are three considerations to illuminate this complex intersection of faith and finance:

Earthly Possessions are Temporary, Not Sinful

In the Gospel of Matthew, a wealthy man asks Jesus how he might inherit eternal life. In response, Jesus advises him to sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Him. The man departs, saddened, for he owned much wealth.

While it’s tempting to interpret this passage as condemning the wealthy, E.W. Bullinger offers an alternative interpretation. He suggests that Jesus metaphorically refers to “the eye of the needle” as a small gate through which a camel, once relieved of its load, could pass. Like the camel, we must lay down our earthly possessions to enter the kingdom of God. Our entrance to heaven requires us to unload the baggage of material wealth, allowing us to receive heavenly blessings.

Embrace Loss, and Find Freedom

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul states that he counts all his earthly gain as loss for the sake of Christ. For Paul, and for us, this process involves relinquishing the temporary happiness tied to our material possessions. As we detach ourselves from these fleeting joys, we discover an enduring happiness rooted in Christ. Our earthly possessions become symbols of God’s love, making us less attached to them and more thankful for them.

Trials are Blessings in Disguise

Often, we believe our sacrifices and sufferings are meant to prove our worthiness or love to God. However, this viewpoint fails to acknowledge God’s infinite holiness and our inability to earn His favor through our efforts. This misunderstanding underscores why Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary.

So, why do we encounter trials? Although there’s no clear-cut answer, trials can serve as training grounds, preparing our hearts to receive God’s blessings. Our sufferings can soften our hearts, making us receptive to the spiritual gifts that God desires to bestow upon us.

God desires to bless us abundantly, not necessarily materially but in ways that profoundly satisfy our souls. Remember, His blessings are not synonymous with wealth and can’t be measured by comparing bank balances. While God meets our needs and may provide material wealth, His most precious gifts are spiritual: His boundless love and the fulfillment that comes from living in His love.