Conceptually, I agree with the ways of earning money. I have done all of the above. I’ve got 20+ years of experience chasing the answer to “expanding my opportunities” to earn more. I have lived too long in the world of trying to figure out ways to earn more money.
Now I am trying to keep my focus on asking how can I take part in what God is doing? How can I love God and my neighbor more? How can I know God better and be content trusting him to provide what is right?
It was a lot easier coming up with answers to the questions I was asking about ways to earn money. But the joy and moments of rest when “I get it” are a lot more peaceful with the new questions I’m asking.
He makes a good point in questioning how much Christians should be focused on making more money. There are good motives for wanting to earn more and there are bad motives. I thought it would be interesting to look at this idea in a little more depth than comments on a blog post allow. So today, I’m going to look at why Christians shouldn’t think about earning more money. On Thursday, we’ll talk about why Christians should think about earning more.
Here are three reasons why Christians should not think about earning more money:
1. You Love Money More Than God
If you’re currently struggling with the love of money, it would be unhealthy to spend your time thinking about how you can earn more. You should treat money (and the things that make you love it) like a drug addict would treat drugs during rehabilitation. You’ve got to stay away from the snares that can pull you back into the habit. Clearly, thinking about how you can earn more isn’t going to help you break free from the love of money.
There are two very clear passages in Scripture that warn against loving and serving money. First, Jesus warns us in Luke 16:13-15 that serving money prevents you from serving God:
13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren’t able to serve God and mammon (Money).” 14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him. 15 He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Luke 16:13-15 (WEB)
Then the apostle Paul warns against greed and the love of money in 1 Timothy 6:6-12:
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can’t carry anything out. 8 But having food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:6-12 (WEB)
Finally, James admonishes those who ask for wealth simply because they want to spend it on themselves:
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
James 4:3 (WEB)
Taken together, along with numerous other verses that teach against greed, hoarding, and selfishness, we see that it would be wrong for Christians to think about how to make more money if:
- They’re not concerned with loving & serving God.
- They love money and simply want to hoard it up for themselves.
- They desire only to spend it on themselves.
All of these indicate a clear love of money. If you have these symptoms, seek God and follow Paul’s instructions in 1 Timothy 6:11-12 instead of thinking about how you can make more money.
2. You Think More Money Will Make You Happy/Secure
Satan loves to feed us lies, and I think this is one of the most common lies we face. More money will not bring you security. And more money will only bring you more “happiness” if you’re living at or below the poverty line. As Christians, we must understand that God is our fortress and security and we must trust only in Him. We also need to realize that we can only have true joy in Christ and the salvation and eternal life He gives. Money can never satisfy that need or provide eternal security.
Proverbs 11:4 and 18:10-11 warn against thinking of our wealth as our security:
Riches don’t profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
Proverbs 11:4 (WEB)
10 The name of Yahweh is a strong tower: the righteous run to him, and are safe. 11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, like an unscalable wall in his own imagination.
Proverbs 18:10-11 (WEB)
And Jesus asks in Matthew 16:26:
For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?
Matthew 16:26 (WEB)
Then Jesus admonishes the church in Laodicea:
17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;’ and don’t know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
Revelation 3:17-18 (WEB)
Thinking about how you can make more money is dangerous if you believe it will bring you security or happiness. As Christians, we must learn to let God transform us and our mindset so we can understand the fleeting nature of wealth and the imaginary security it boasts.
3. You Want to Impress People
Worrying about how others value you with the world’s standards ignores the value you have in Christ. It also perpetuates socioeconomical discrimination, which does not honor God. God does not respect people based on their wealth, power, or success in this world and neither should we. We should avoid thinking in those terms as well. Consider these passages from the Bible:
17 If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear: 18 knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ;
1 Peter 1:17-19 (WEB)
9 But let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his high position; 10 and the rich, in that he is made humble, because like the flower in the grass, he will pass away. 11 For the sun arises with the scorching wind, and withers the grass, and the flower in it falls, and the beauty of its appearance perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in his pursuits.
James 1:9-11 (WEB)
1 My brothers, don’t hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; and you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn’t God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him?
James 2:1-5 (WEB)
And if you’re concerned about keeping up with the Joneses, consider this verse from Proverbs:
There are some who pretend to be rich, yet have nothing. There are some who pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth.
Proverbs 13:7 (WEB)
Instead of being concerned about what others think of us, let’s focus on what God thinks of us. Rather than looking to impress people, let us honor and glorify God by seeking to serve Him in all things.
What are some other reasons why Christians should not think about making more money? Are you struggling with any of these reasons right now? How are you dealing with it? How can we encourage you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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