WEALTH VS POVERTY
The twin issues of wealth and poverty has always divided society almost down the middle the world over. The Christian community is no exception. There are those who are of the view that the wealthy are almost certainly destined to hell and not heaven, as opposed to the poor whom they see as well placed for the kingdom of God. Is poverty really a sure ticket to heaven, and riches a ticket to hell? Let us have a look at what the bible says about this.
Abraham, Lazarus and the Rich Man
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
20 “But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
21 “desiring to be fed by the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
23 “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
25 “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
26 ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’”
And so we see the rich man ending up in hell while Abraham went to heaven in spite of also being very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold, Genesis 13:2.
The Bible also advises in Ecclesiastes 10:20
Do not curse the king, even in your thought;
Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom;
For a bird of the air may carry your voice,
And a bird in flight may tell the matter.
With God All Things Are Possible
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
24 ”And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
And so, many anti-wealth Christians who glorify poverty will never go further to read verses 25-26 which are part and parcel of the whole teaching that Jesus was giving about riches. When something is hard doesn’t mean that it is impossible as we also see in the following verses.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying “Who then can be saved?”
26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The rich therefore also have a chance to enter the kingdom of God so long as they truly involve God in their lives.
Instructions to the Rich
1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
It is therefore imperative for Christians to realise that neither riches nor poverty of themselves can determine whether an individual goes to heaven or to hell.
Our relationship with Christ is of more paramount importance than our wealth or poverty status.