Jesus used illustrations of money in his parables. He didn’t hesitate to call out those who were hoarding their money, and he often called the rich Pharisees sinners and hypocrites, but what does that mean for others who do have lots of money?
Is it a sin to be rich? It is not a sin to be rich, but loving money is a sin. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” Wealthy Christians are not sinning by having money. They do need to keep their hearts pure and ensure they are not loving more or making it an idol. Also, the Bible urges Christians to use whatever riches they have to bless others and glorify God.
The Bible has endless stories, proverbs, and parables about riches and how we as Christians are supposed to handle our money. From Joseph to Lydia of Thyatira, we can discern being rich is not a sin, but rather a blessing and a responsibility we’re meant to steward well.
What The Bible Says About Being Rich
The Bible teaches us how God is the giver of all riches and how we are to steward our own riches well. Whatever riches we have we can use to further the kingdom of God, and even more than that, our true riches should lie in our relationship with Jesus.
The Bible Says That We Should Be Rich Towards God
God wants us to know that every good thing we have is from Him. Whenever someone is rich, it is not solely their own doing, it is because God has allowed them to earn wealth.
The Bible even says that God can take away riches as quickly as He gives them, so our hearts shouldn’t be set on them.
Jesus told a parable in Luke 12 about a rich fool, who relied on his riches instead of God. He said that the man’s life was demanded of him, and his riches could not save him. Because of this, Jesus said:
This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.Luke 12:21 NIV
The Bible also tells us that God is rich himself, and he lavishes his riches of grace on us. From this, we know that the real riches we should be after are the ones found in the Lord and His Spirit.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.1 Timothy 6:17 ESV
A true, rich life is found in God’s presence, not in money. At the same time, it is not a sin to be rich, but when we are rich we are called to bless others with our wealth.
The Bible Says Our Riches Can Bless Others
When riches are mentioned in the Bible, it is never a trivial thing. Riches, or lack of them, always tells us about the character of God and how he operates.
Think of the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. Joseph began as a shepherd and was the favorite of his father’s children.
Because of his father’s favoritism, his brothers became jealous and sold him into slavery, propelling Joseph into a life of both suffering and fame.
After working for a man named Potiphar and spending two years in jail, Joseph found himself interpreting Pharaoh’s dream and rising to second in command over all of Egypt.
By God’s power, Joseph was able to prepare the country for seven years of drought and was the richest man in the world at that time.
Through his position and riches, Joseph was able to forgive and reconnect with his brothers, and save whole nations with his storehouses of wealth and food during the time of famine.
His wealth blessed others because God turned what others had meant for evil into good in Joseph’s life.
Another story of riches is found in the New Testament where Lydia of Thyatira, who was a dealer of purple cloth, blessed Paul’s ministry and the church with her riches and hospitality.
From learning about Joseph, Lydia, and others in the Bible who used their riches for God’s glory, we can know that we can use whatever we have in the same way, and bless others, maybe even save their lives, with our riches.
What The Bible Says About Riches And Sin
The Bible never says having money and riches is sinful. There are some major ways that we can sin against God by the way we handle our riches, and misusing our money can even harm other people.
It Is A Sin To Love Money More Than God
While it is not a sin to be rich, it is a sin to love money, because it can easily become an idol and tempt us to rely on it more than our Heavenly Father.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.Matthew 6:24 ESV
The love of money causes greed in our hearts, and can lead to all kinds of evil.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.1 Timothy 6:10 CSB
It Is A Sin To Mistreat The Poor
Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.Proverbs 22:16 ESV
When we are entrusted with wealth from God, we get to steward that what he’s given us well.
When we use our wealth to get ahead of others and oppress the poor, we’re sinning against God.
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.Ezekiel 16:49 ESV
One of the blessings of having riches is that you can bless others with it. This is Jesus’ heart, since He came as a suffering servant, even to the point of giving his own life for us.
Jesus hung out with the poor and needy during his life on earth. Over and over again he tells us to care for them.
We are to take care of the poor people within our community.
The Rich And Poor Matter To God
Whether you’re monetarily rich or poor, God loves you and wants to bless you with the riches of His kingdom. His abundance allows everyone to be rich in love, joy, peace, hope, and so many more good things.
As Christians, we are called to seek the treasures of the kingdom of God first, and that doesn’t always mean worldly riches like money.
The goods news is anyone can access the riches of God’s goodness, whether rich or poor.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21
Ultimately, God wants our hearts. He wants to lavish His love upon us. The riches of God’s love can be experienced by anyone at any time, no matter what their bank account says.
So while it’s a sin to love money more than God, and to mistreat the poor with your wealth, it is not a sin to be rich because we can use those riches to further the kingdom of God, bless others, and most importantly, glorify God.